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Polar V800 Multisport GPS Watch In-Depth Review

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All the way back in early January at CES Polar announced the V800 multisport GPS watch.  This would be their first multisport integrated GPS watch to market, combining the RC3 GPS watch along with the RCX5 non-GPS multisport watch.  On top of that, they’d also be integrating in their Polar Loop activity monitor functions – effectively making a powerhouse of a fitness watch.

Since even before the announcement I’ve been using the V800, with now daily usage in the past couple months as it has neared release, which ultimately culminated last week in the first final software release.  As such, I’ve got a pretty good idea on where things work, and where there may be a few holes in the story.

To be clear, Polar sent me over a V800 to start testing with until retail availability.  Like always, I’ll be shipping that back to them in Finland in the next few days and going out and getting my own via regular retail channels.  That’s just the way I roll.

Lastly, at the end of the day keep in mind I’m just like any other regular athlete out there. I write these reviews because I’m inherently a curious person with a technology background, and thus I try and be as complete as I can. But, if I’ve missed something or if you spot something that doesn’t quite jive – just let me know and I’ll be happy to get it all sorted out. Also, because the technology world constantly changes, I try and go back and update these reviews as new features and functionality are added – or if bugs are fixed. So – with that intro, let’s get into things.

Unboxing:

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The V800 comes in two flavors.  That with a heart rate strap, and that without a heart rate strap.  Down the road, it’ll also come in a blue flavor.

In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and show you the unboxing for the model with the heart rate strap.  In putting this together, the box I had is from a few months ago – so it’s plausible it looks slightly different than the final boxes.  No worries though actual contents are the same.

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Inside the packaging you’ll find the heart rate strap, heart rate strap pod, USB charger, and then the watch still attached to the packaging.

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Take everything out, and here’s your package.

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Looking at the pieces briefly, the heart rate strap included is the H7, which is Polar’s Bluetooth Smart + Analog transmission for underwater usage (and gym equipment like treadmills).

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Next, the USB charger will snap onto the V800 like a clamp.  The other end will connect to your computer.

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Finally, the watch itself:

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And, here’s the back:

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Button-wise you’ve got five to work with.  On your right side will be page up and page down, and then the red button is for starting, laps and selecting/confirming objects in the menu.

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While the left side is for the light (plus a menu while running), and then the back button (which pauses/ends the workout).

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Now that everything is unpacked, let’s hit up the size and weight comparisons.

Size & Weight Comparisons:

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Above, you’ll find all the major units in the high-end multisport market today, plus a few others that are relatively recent.

From left to right: Garmin FR910XT, Adidas Smart Run GPS, Suunto Ambit2, Polar V800, Garmin Fenix2, Suunto Ambit2 R (and Ambit2 S), Timex Run Trainer 2.0, TomTom Runner/Multisport, Garmin FR620, and finally the Garmin FR220.

As you can see the V800 is in the same ballpark as other watches.  It’s a little bit skinnier (width and depth) than most other units, but still tends to be about the length:

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Looking at past Polar watches that it evolved from, you can see it’s got a much sharper display, as well as overall sleeker design.

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Thickness-wise though, it’s roughly the same as those:

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When I give the watch a weigh-in, the V800 comes in at 82g, right inline with all the other multisport units on the market:

Fenix2 – 85g
Fenix1 – 83g
FR910XT – 83g
Ambit2 – 89g

*Note: Polar sent me a photo showing the official measurement on a super-fancy scale at 79.88841g.  When I get a new unit I’ll re-measure.  But at the moment, everyone is on the same scale, so to speak, with the above numbers.

Ok, now that we’ve got all the comparisons done – let’s start using the thing.

Running:

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In many ways, the V800 is really at its best while running.  That’s mostly because it’s essentially like taking the RC3 of the past and adding some customization.  Plus, it is a watch after all (versus a cycling head unit).  Which is to say that if you’re a pure cyclist, I’d be looking at other options (potentially Polar’s V650 in the future).  Whereas if you’re purely a runner (non-multisport), then the V800 is still a very viable unit.

With that in mind, the first thing you’ll want to do is pair up the sensors (such as your heart rate sensor).  You’ll do that in the general settings area.  I’ve got an entire section dedicated to sensors a bit later, so I’ll hold off on all the details till then.

Next, depending on where your watch was shipped from you’ll want to change the date/time.  Unfortunately, the V800 doesn’t gather your current time based on GPS (like most fitness watches do).  It only takes about 10-15 seconds to change it, but it would be a nice feature (or, to sync to your phone’s time instead like most activity trackers do).

With all that set you’ll press the red button.  This will bring you to the screen with your configured sport profiles.  Sport profiles are basically modes that you can configure for a slew of different sports.  While you can’t create your own sport (Cow Tipping), you can choose from a huge list of sports and then tweak all the settings.

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Only modes that you’ve created/configured will show up on the watch.  In my case, we’ll use the up/down buttons to get to the Running mode.  Once you’ve done that it’ll go ahead and initiate the search for any sensors.  Within the context of running that would be the heart rate strap and running footpod (both are optional).  You’ll see little icons displayed on the screen once connected, and in the case of the heart rate – you’ll see your BPM value displayed:

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While the unit is connecting to the sensors it’s also searching for GPS signal.  In my testing I’ve found the GPS acquisition time acceptable but not great.  It doesn’t appear to pre-cache satellites like all other fitness devices on the market for the last 1-2 years do.

So sometimes GPS acquisition takes a minute or more.  If you start in the same place as you last stopped however, it’ll tend to find it in a few seconds.  Here’s an example video showing the acquisition time, which in this case was about 30-40 seconds depending on where you measured the ‘start’ from.  The unit had been turned on earlier in the day in the same locale.

For comparison, here’s at the exact same spot and time (same run) the FR15 and FR620’s acquisition times.

With GPS all ready, you’ll go ahead and press start.

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I do want to point out to definitely wait for GPS acquisition to be found before you start running.  If you don’t, it’ll take much longer and you won’t get accurate data (distance/pace/etc…).  After pressing start it’ll bring you into your configured data pages.

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Assuming you don’t have a footpod your pace and distance will come automatically from GPS.  Again, a footpod is NOT required to get speed/distance/pace while outdoors (that’ll come from GPS).

While running you can change the viewed data pages at any time by pressing the up/down button.  You  cannot however re-configure those pages (only online via computer).  Each page can have up to four pieces of data on it (again, configured online).  Here’s a handful of screens from various runs:

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You can change the screen display during activities (but not in regular watch mode) to either be white text on black background, or the inverse:

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Since I mentioned the footpod a minute ago, let’s talk about that in more depth.  Officially known as the ‘Stride Sensor’, the running footpod allows you to get cadence information (indoors/outdoors), as well as pace/distance information when indoors.

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The Polar variant of the footpod is unfortunately the size of a Twinkie, and the largest in the industry.

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Now, there are some things to be aware of with the footpod.  First is that like past Polar units, the footpod will override any GPS pace/distance data.  There is no option to change that.  What there is however is an option to determine whether the unit will automatically calibrate the footpod at the start of each GPS run, or, whether to use a set calibration value.  This is configured within your sport profile (running in this case):

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For me however, it never seems to automatically calibrate anything (with both the Polar BLE footpod and other footpods).  Rather, it just sticks to some unknown value. As a result, my distances are off.  What’s unfortunate here is that the common industry thing to do is to take cadence from the footpod and then pace from GPS (unless you lose GPS in a tunnel).  Or, to offer a configuration option as to which source to pull from.

In any event, the footpod can then be used for indoor running to get pace and distance while on a treadmill (per the calibration values set).  Note that the V800 does NOT gather cadence from the wrist like most newer running watches, nor does it do pace indoors on a treadmill like most newer running watches.  At present, that’s not on the planned features list – though technically speaking the unit has the hardware to be able to do it.

Assuming you do have the footpod however, you’ll see cadence displayed on the unit, as well as stride length:

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Further, you’ll see this data afterwards on Polar Flow.

Next when it comes to instant pace the V800 is very smooth and yet at the same time responsive.  Below is a video I shot that shows me doing one of my intervals from last night’s workout.  I started from the barely walking position and then accelerated up to pace.  I initially turn a corner (90° onto a bridge), and then you see a slight slowdown as the bridge rises, before I stabilize the pace (and the bridge flattens out).  There was no running footpod used/attached here, just pure GPS instant pace (shown in minutes/mile):

Next, let’s look at the workout functionality.  The V800 includes some basic workout target modes that can be used.  It does not have a separate/instant interval mode.  These workout modes are all configured on Polar Flow (with computer) first, and then transferred to the watch for use during an activity.  In my case, I created my Saturday long run workout on Polar Flow.

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This had a main chunk, and then some intervals at the end.  You can see how I’ve structured these here and even done a ‘repeat’ function within it:

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Now, there are some downsides to the tool (via computer).  First is that the only ‘target’ you can set is heart rate (+ distance or time).  No pace/cadence/speed/etc… goals that are fairly common.  Also, creating repeats can be a bit frustrating the way the tool is designed because it always wants to randomly select different segments to repeat.  So it may take you 1 or 12 tries to get the repeats right.  Eventually you’ll get it all set though.

Note that you’ll actually create workouts within the ‘Diary’ portion after selecting a given day and adding what’s called a “Training Target”.  This too is fairly confusing since I tend to have a collection of workouts I use and don’t really think to associate them with a specific day.  I wish this was just a separate section that I could easily get to and make workouts.  Plus, “Training Target” doesn’t really convert into English as the idea for a pre-scheduled structured workout.  Rather, most would think that would mean an end-goal (i.e. run 10 miles).

In my case, I set this one as a ‘Favorite’ so I can find it easily on the watch.  Thus, once back outside I instead scroll down to favorites:

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Then from there I selected my workout:

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And with that it brought me to the usual page prior to a run.  Once I press start, I’ll get a new page that indicates what I should be doing for each step.  In this case, it shows a little HR bar that shows the zone I set for this step.  Down below it shows how much time is remaining on this step:

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This new page is in addition to any of your usual sport-defined pages.  If you are above/below zone the unit will chirp and vibrate at you telling you that you’re screwing up.  It’ll continue to do this until you get with the program.

Once you reach the next step it’ll automatically show you a new screen for that next piece.  Note that it will not give you a count-down warning however (beep or display).  It simply goes right into the next piece.

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Now in addition to this custom workout mode, there are two somewhat simpler modes that you can create as well.  The first is called ‘Race Pace Target’ and is basically like a virtual pacer.  You specify the duration and distance, and it figures out the pace:

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The above can be configured not only on the computer, but also on the watch at the last second:

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And here’s how it’ll look during a workout, like a virtual partner of sorts.  Shows you how far behind (5 seconds in this case) you are from the pacer, as well as your current pace and heart rate (along with the goal pace – 6:53 in this case):

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The second is simply called ‘Quick’.  In this mode you choose one metric and then it’ll void the other metrics out.  Sorta like a goal.

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This mode shows you a progress chart during the workout:

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Next, whether you’re in a structured workout or a manual workout you can create laps at any time by pressing the lap button.  Additionally, you can also configure ‘Tap to lap’, which allows you to whack the screen to trigger a lap.  Tap to lap isn’t a touch-sensitive thing.  Rather, it’s a whack-sensitive thing (accelerometer driven).  Thus you need to give it a nice little thump to trigger a lap.

I have found though that tap to lap kinda doesn’t really work while cycling.  The bumps in the road will constantly trigger it – so make sure you turn it off there and just use the buttons instead.

Further, you can also use automatic laps, which are separate (in addition) to manual laps.  These can be configured for example for every 1-mile (or kilometer), and then will automatically show on the display, as well as afterwards in Polar Flow:

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Note that if you need to pause the unit you can simply press the lower left button once to pause.  You’ll hold down said button for three seconds to then end and save the workout.  Note that in the paused mode you unfortunately can’t view your current distance/pages (I really wish I could, drives me crazy).

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After you’ve saved the workout you’ll be given a summary screen that shows your activity totals, including recovery times:

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This information is also available on Polar Flow afterwards.  With that, I’ve covered all the running functionality.  Let’s continue on to the cycling side of things.

Cycling:

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The V800 can be used in a cycling mode, like most other multisport watches.  In this mode you’ll get all the same functionality as in running, plus the ability to pair to other sensor types like cycling speed and cadence sensors – and down the road, power meters.  Further, in this mode you’ll also get included information.

In order to minimize re-hashing everything I wrote in the running section – everything is essentially the same there.  The core difference though is that now the metric will be ‘speed’ (i.e. MPH or KPH), rather than pace (minutes/mile).

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Further, when you start a ride you’ll get a new little icon if you happen to have a Bluetooth Smart Speed and/or Cadence sensor(s).  These sensors can be used not only outdoors with GPS, but indoors on a trainer.

Note that the V800 will override the GPS speed with your speed sensor speed.  So if you have a speed sensor setup but not properly configured (i.e. wrong calibration value), then you’ll get inaccurate distance and speed.

On the cadence front, if you have a Bluetooth Smart cadence sensor, you’ll get cadence information while cycling:

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From a cycling standpoint the V800 makes for an ‘ok’ cycling computer.  I say that because there is no capability to remove the unit from its strap and quickly attach it to a quick-release kit.  Rather, you’ll need to place it on some form of watch holder on your bike.  You can do that with something like one of the $9 rubber blocks (in accessories section), or Polar’s ziptie solution.  I personally prefer the $9 rubber blocks (even by other companies) because they don’t actually require zipties (you can use them if you want).  Plus, I find them a bit more stable.

If you have a trainer, you’ll want to create/add an indoor cycling mode.  In this mode you can turn off the GPS so it doesn’t try searching for it, then you can go ahead and use a speed sensor to get speed and distance.  Without such a sensor you’ll only have heart rate data (or, cadence data if you have that too).

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When it comes time to viewing things like cadence afterwards, these will show up on Polar Flow just like any other metric:

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Note that as of this writing the V800 doesn’t yet support Bluetooth Smart power meters.  That will come later, per the schedule down below in the section titled ‘The Future’.  Prior to that Polar will release their Look/Keo Power System with updated pedal pods for Bluetooth Smart.  That unit will join both the Stages Power Meter and PowerTap Bluetooth Smart power meter caps as the only direct force Bluetooth Smart power meters on the market.  I don’t foresee any additional Bluetooth Smart enabled power meters in the near future from any other companies. (Updated: Added initial power meter support as of Sept 30th, 2014)

Swimming:

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First and foremost – let me get this out of the way to minimize confusion: The Polar V800 at this time does not support swimming metrics such as distance or strokes (either in a pool or in openwater).  It does however support heart rate in the water, as well as time recording.  Updates for adding in that support are listed in my updates section a bit further down.

With that out of the way – what does work while swimming? Well, simply put: Heart rate.

The V800 continues the Polar tradition of being pretty much the only multisport watch on the market that can gather heart rate data while your body is underwater.  It’s long been a Polar-specific selling point that is included in the V800 as long as you have a capable heart rate strap.

That would be the H7 specifically that’s capable of doing both Bluetooth Smart (above water), and analog (below water).  The H6 however, will not work.

To start a swim session you’ll go ahead and select swimming from the menu.  I’ve actually configured two swimming variants.  One called ‘Aquatic Fitness’ and one called ‘Swimming’.  Why two? Well, on the other one I set GPS to be enabled (more on that in a second) and changed some other settings.  So I use the ‘Aquatic Fitness’ one in the pool and ‘Swimming’ one in openwater.

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Once it’s found heart rate you can get to town swimming.  The challenge for me though is that the heart rate strap simply won’t stay on my body.  This is less of an issue for women since one presumes that they aren’t swimming topless.  For men however, the water pressure can sometimes push the strap down depending on your body type.

I’ve tried all the most common tricks: Sliding transmitter pod to your back or side, twisting the strap a bunch, placing it higher or lower on the chest.  No love.

Generally for me it’ll work in steady-state swimming.  It’s just as soon as I hit the wall and push off that I lose it.

In talking with others, it tends to effect men who are a bit leaner than those who aren’t.  In any event, that’s indoor pool swimming for ya.  Again, at the time of this writing it does not currently track pace/laps/lengths/stroke.  See the section below titled ‘The Future’ for details on that.

Next, comes to openwater swimming.  This is basically the same as indoor swimming, except outside.  You’ll just get heart rate data, that’s all.

Of course, I knew many of you’d wanted to know what happens if you enable GPS on the unit in swimming mode (which you can do).  So, I went out and tested it.

Or rather, I tried to.  Until I ended up in the hospital.

But, then I went out again the next day and tested it…for real this time.  I’ve continued testing it a bunch of times over the past few months, including on the most recent firmware this past Thursday.

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This test is likely the easiest to illustrate what the GPS track looks like when left on:

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Here’s the actual track as measured by a different GPS device in my swimcap (red swim track both above and below):

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To compare, the distances are:

Polar V800: .68 miles
Reference distance: .50 miles

The reason for this is that the Polar V800 does not yet have an openwater swim mode.  And thus the unit loses GPS reception each time your arm goes under the water and then tries to re-gain it each time above the water.  When it does that the accuracy of the GPS location can vary significantly.  In order to alleviate that, Polar will need to add an algorithm that attemps to guess where you’re going, like watches from Garmin, Suunto and Bryton have.  In most cases, those watches tend to get it within about 10-15%.

Obviously, it should go without saying that based on the features in the product today – the V800 isn’t really a swimmer’s watch.  Down the road, perhaps, but not today.

Finally, I do want to note that for reasons unclear to either me or Polar, my watch seems to lose the HR connection as soon as the strap goes underwater.  I’ve tried a multitude of H7 straps without success (including brand new out of box) on a number of firmware versions.  That said, I’m reasonably certain this is simply a defect with my specific unit and not widespread since other readers have reported no issues with this functionality and it’s something that sorta falls into the camp of ‘it normally just works’.  Polar is sending over another unit to have me test on that, so I’ll update this paragraph once that comes in later this week.

Preemptive notifier: See the section at the end titled “Updates & The Future” to validate that things in this section haven’t changed since I wrote this post – specifically in relation to the swimming piece.

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

Triathlon & Multisport Use:

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The V800 today includes a multisport mode, which allows you to easily change sports and record those sports in succession (as well as the transition times between them).  I’ll explain the overall concept of how it works in a brief moment, but first I want to be really clear about two specific things:

1) As of today the V800 swim metric support is limited.  I can’t use it to track openwater swims (aside from my heart rate), and I can’t use it in the pool to track distance/stokes/metrics.

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

2) There’s no quick release style mount.  This means it’s going to be on your wrist the entire time.  For some that’s OK, but for most serious triathletes the inability to see your watch while in aero position is a letdown.  You’d be required to put it on a separate mount and take care of that in transition (T1 & T2).

I say that because approximately 48.2% of all comments I receive seem to be on the issue of #1.  So, I’m kinda going for the brute-force repetitive approach here to ensure it’s really clear.

With those limitations noted, you can indeed use it in a multisport event, and it’s silly easy to do so.  To start, the unit includes what’s called “Free Multisport” mode, which allows you to basically go all free-wheelin’ between whatever sports you like.  Linking them together like a chain of sausages.  There’s also a regular multisport mode as well that I’ll cover in a second.

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After starting this mode it’ll then ask you to select your first sport.  At this point it’s really just like completing a single-sport activity.  Any of the views/configuration settings/sensors that you’ve setup for that particular sport profile will be there just like normal:

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Once you’ve completed flailing around in the water (as was my case), you can then tap the bottom left button (normally used as pause), to change to the next sport.  In this case Polar allows you to simply scroll through your sports and choose whatever sport you want to begin.  So, you’ve got some flexibility:

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The only downside to the ‘Free Multisport mode’ is that that if you have a ton of sports saved it may take a second or two and you may have to briefly concentrate (which, can be tricky in a triathlon).  However, there’s a regular fixed mode I’ll talk about in a second.

During the time while you’re choosing your next sporting venture, it’ll be tracking your first transition time.  It’ll continue tracking transition time until you press ‘go’ on that next sport.

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Once you’ve pressed go it’ll start that next selected sport just like normal.

You can continue to iterate sports like this as long as you darn well want.  Over and over again, if you’d like.  You’ll get a page on your data fields which has the ‘total’ time for the activity – listed as ‘Tot’.

Finally, once you’re all done you’ll tap that bottom left button to get back to the ‘next sport’ screen, and then from here you’ll hold down the bottom left button to stop the unit altogether and save the workout (just like normal).

Once it’s done it’ll show you a summary of your workout segments, but then allow you to pull open individual sports and look at those just as if they were their own standalone segments:

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The implementation here of the history function is actually really well done and thought out.  I like it.

In the event you add the ‘Triathlon’ sport profile to your watch (in addition to Free Multisport), then you can configure the modes ahead of time on Polar Flow.  This allows you to just advance seamlessly between the different sports without having to choose them (more appropriate for races).

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Lastly, after uploading your workouts to Polar Flow you’ll see everything on a single page.  This is a bit different from Garmin, which splices out the different sports into specific activities (i.e. one for swim, one for bike, one for run) – with no total triathlon time.

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There are pros and cons to doing either approach.  From an analysis standpoint it actually tends to be easier to analyze each sport individually (Garmin approach), whereas from a holistic race perspective that can only be seen with the Polar approach.

On Flow, each of the sports are shown along the top on the graph:

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Overall, I found the multisport function seemed to work out great for me.  No specific issues with the implementation on the device, though, as you can see above the Flow site information is a bit thin at this point (I suspect that’ll improve over time).

Preemptive notifier: See the section at the end titled “Updates & The Future” to validate that things in this section haven’t changed since I wrote this post – specifically in relation to the multisport piece.

Data Field Options

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The V800 allows you to customize your data pages online with Polar Flow using a computer (you cannot currently do it via the device or the phone app).  However, the tool works quite well and is very easy to use, so I have no complaints.

You can create up to 8 custom pages of data per sport profile, with each page having 1 to 4 pieces of information, as seen above.  Below is a table of all of the data fields you can currently choose/configure to add to the above pages:

Polar V800 Data Fields

Time FieldsEnvironment FieldsBody MeasurementDistanceSpeed/Pace FieldsCadence FieldsPower Fields
Time of dayAltitudeHeart RateDistanceSpeed/PaceRunning/Cycling CadencePower (Instant)
DurationTemperatureCaloriesLap DistanceAverage Speed/PaceAvg Running/Cycling CadenceAverage Power
Lap timeTotal AscentAverage Heart RateLast Lap DistanceMaximum Speed/PaceCurrent Lap Running/Cycling CadenceLap Max Power
Last lap timeCurrent Lap AscentZonePointerLap Speed/PaceAverage Stride Length (Running)Lap Left/Right Balance Avg
Total DescentMaximum Heart RateLap Power
Current Lap DescentTime in ZoneLeft/Right Balance (Instant)
InclineHR Avg in LapLeft/Right Balanace Avg
RR VariationMaximum Power
Maximum Force
Power Limits

For the heart rate field you’ll choose a per-sport option of seeing the heart rate value in: Beats Per Minute (BPM), % of Maximum, or % of Heart Rate Reserve.

Again, these are all on a per sport profile basis, with the ability to configure a lot of different sport profiles (though at this time you can’t just create your own).

24×7 Activity Tracking:

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The Polar V800 was the first multisport watch on the market to double as an activity monitor.  This falls in line with Polar being the first activity monitor on the market to double as a heart rate strap (the Polar Loop).  When people refer to an activity monitor, they’re talking about a device that isn’t used to track sport activities (like a run), but rather the other 23 hours of the day that you’re not exercising.  So basically, your walk to Kentucky Fried Chicken and your mid-afternoon siesta.  The type of activities that most normal non-endurance athletes enjoy.

The idea with activity monitoring is to give you a better understanding of how much activity you have outside of training – allowing you to put together a comprehensive view of your day to day work effort.  For example, yesterday I walked about 8 miles while out doing errands in the city.  Then, after doing all that, I ran another 11 miles.  If I didn’t have an activity monitor on, I might not be able to quantify the full extent of my errands, which, might not allow me to understand why my run later that evening was a bit slower.

Now typically (as in the case of the Polar Loop), an activity monitor will tell you on the unit how many steps you’ve taken, distance walked, your progress towards the defined goal of the day (steps), and calories.  It may also show a few other random things like time of day.  Unfortunately, in the case of the V800 it only shows this single page:

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It won’t show you steps walked nor distance.  Just a bar graph without any numbers.  What’s sorta frustrating here is that I identified this six months ago in my original post and noted that it made the activity monitor side kinda useless.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t changed.

While you can sync to the phone to get steps – most would agree that defeats the purpose of having glancable information on the wrist (in part why units like the FitBit Force and Nike Fuelband are more popular than the Jawbone UP without a display).  Ideally they’d just list the steps directly on top of that, or, allow me to add it to my home page.  That’d be sorta logical (and what the Garmin FR15 does).

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Once I connect it to my phone I do get the step counts there within the daily activity summary.  This view comes in a giant donut.  I’ve personally always found the layout a bit confusing, but it hasn’t changed yet:

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Along the bottom I’ll get a breakout of total steps (plus distance if I tap that field) and calories for the day, as well as my total active time.  Had I worn it sleeping that night I’d get that information as well.  Personally I find the watch a bit too bulky to wear sleeping, but each person will differ of course.

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You’ll also see inactivity alerts on the phone, but you won’t get these on the V800 yet.  This will come down the road a bit (see the schedule in section titled ‘The Future’).

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All of this information is then sync’d to Polar Flow (online) where it’s accessible there as well:

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Overall I think this is a good first step on the activity monitor side of things.  I just really wish I could glance and see my steps.  Without that, I’m far less likely to wear it during the day (and thus, negating the value of that feature).

The end goal of what Polar is doing here is to create an all encompassing view of your fitness.  In addition to the activity monitoring and regular sport recording, you can also do tests to both see how you’re recovering (Orthostatic test), as well as a fitness test.  In the case of the Orthostatic test, Polar is measuring fatigue – and by doing these measurements regularly you can start to understand patterns and potentially base training on it.

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The Orthostatic test is perhaps one of my favorite tests to complete, mainly because it involves hanging out on the couch:

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Midway through the test it’ll go ahead and ask you to stand up (and do nothing).  It’s measuring the impact of that on your heart rate – which in turn can allow it to determine fatigue.  This is then pulled together into reports on Polar Flow:

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Next you’ve got the status view you can look at the state that the unit believes you’re in from an overall recovery status:

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Recovery status works by taking into account both your training load as well as your recovery, for the past eight days, and pulling together a single value for them.

Finally, do note that while the unit measures RR/HRV today, it doesn’t actually record the data to Polar Flow, thus you can’t quite use 3rd party utilities to analyze that yet (that’s coming though).

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The V800 contains many hardware features typically in a watch designed for hiking, specifically: a barometric altimeter, a magnetic compass, and the ability to get upwards of 50 hours of battery life in a low-power GPS mode.  Now, while it has those hardware features, it generally lacks much of the software at this stage behind those features to realistically use it in a navigational capacity.

Barometric Altimeter:

To start with the most complete feature, we’ll take a look at the barometric altimeter.  A barometric altimeter means that it uses pressure to understand elevation changes.  This is generally considered the most accurate method for consumer sport GPS devices to measure elevation.  Each time you start an activity the unit will use GPS to initially calibrate the barometric altimeter.  This is inline with how most other units on the market work:

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You can however manually override that value by holding down the upper left button and accessing the manual altimeter setting and simply setting a known altitude.  This is useful if you’re at a location where the altitude is posted on a sign.

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Once calibrated you’ll get altitude information during your activity.  This comes in the form of current elevation as well as ascent and descent – essentially whatever you’ve configured on your data pages for that given sport profile.

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Two weekends ago I spent considerable time in the Pyrenees doing barometric altimeter tests, looking at how different units faired.   I was looking at total ascent and descent, as well as maximum elevation.  Along with validation against known elevation markers.  In the first category, here’s the V800 against a known elevation marker:

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In this case, the marker was 1,490m (or 4,888.45ft).  The V800 read 4,860ft.  So pretty darn close – only about 30ft (9m) – inline with what I saw with other units (for example, the Edge 1000 read 4,869ft).

In the second category, here’s the total ascent/descent listed on the unit.  In my case, I was looking for these to be nearly identical – since I stopped and started in the same place:

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Again, pretty close – within 20ft.  I’d be happy with that.

Note that when it comes to elevation, you’ll also get grade information displayed – but that’s currently only available in the cycling mode when the speed is fast enough to calculate the grade.  It won’t show up in running, no matter how steep a hill you’re going up or down.

Next, we’ll look at navigation.  The V800 includes some very rudimentary navigational capabilities allowing you to navigate to saved points of interest, as well as to follow saved routes using a compass.  You’ll first need to calibrate the compass by waving it around like a crazy person:

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Once that’s done you’ve got two choices.  The first is to follow a pre-planned route downloaded from Polar Flow.  The trick here is that as of today you can’t create your own route.  Rather, you can only follow past activities you’ve created, or other public ones on Flow that other people have completed.  Thus, for most people this will be kinda useless since you sorta already know where you went (if pulling from your own).  Personally, I’m waiting for when I can just map out my route.

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Nonetheless, if you save this route to the watch and load it up you’ll get a compass that will point you in the direction you’re supposed to go:

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It’ll show you distance remaining and will be accurate based on which direction the watch is facing.  For example, notice in these next two images how if I rotate just the watch face, the arrow stays pointing the same relative direction:

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The second option is if you access the upper left button menu you can save a point of interest (POI), which then allows you to navigate back to that POI later on.  Thus, ideally you’d save said point before you got yourself lost.  Further, you can also navigate back to the start.  It won’t be on the track you got there though – but instead will be as the crow flies.  This means that if you’re hiking it’s not likely useful because you may have streams/cliffs/military checkpoints/etc in the way that would otherwise hinder a direct line of sight route:

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In addition, you can retrieve your lat/long coordinates by simply holding down the ‘Light’ button (once in an activity with GPS enabled), and then scroll down to ‘Current Location Info’.

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Overall, the features are super-basic in the navigation section.  I hope over time we’ll see things get built out a bit more.  At present, I can’t imagine many folks will find the navigational capabilities very useful, especially compared to more full-featured hiking/navigation watches like the Suunto Ambit series and Garmin Fenix series.

Battery Life:

The V800 has a few different battery life thresholds depending on how you’re using it.  In day to day mode without GPS on, the unit is rated at 30 days before you need to charge it up again.  For most though, you’re interested in GPS usage time.  For that, the V800 includes two different GPS modes that can impact battery life.  The first is a standard 1-second recording mode that updates GPS and records the values every one-second.  This is the default and normal mode.  This mode is rated at 13 hours of battery life with heart rate data (more on my testing in a second).

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The second mode is an ultra-long battery mode designed for getting upwards of 50-hours of battery life.  In this mode the GPS update is reduced to every 60 seconds (with HR data), thus resulting in less accuracy but far more usage time.  This is generally best for hiking where you’re moving comparatively slowly.  It’s not at all ideal for cycling where you’d be moving rather fast and thus the difference in 60 seconds would cut many corners (unless of course your riding across the US or something).

I’ve found in using the watch over the last 6 months that battery life was never a problem.  In that I mean that there always seemed to be enough battery for my activities.  Part of that might be my charging behavior, but it didn’t seem like it burned through battery, which is good.

In order to test the battery life I went ahead and plunked the unit on my rooftop and let it run with GPS on (in normal mode) from 100% battery down to whenever it shut itself off.  Here were the results:

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Interestingly, at 6% battery it basically ends the activity and goes into a safe-mode.  In this case, it was at 18 hours and 53 minutes.  Far surpassing Polar’s official estimates.  However, there is one catch: There was no Bluetooth Smart enabled heart rate data (which is included in their numbers).  With ANT+ creating a sensor simulator to run all night is really easy, but with Bluetooth Smart it’s a bit more tricky and I haven’t quite gotten them to work yet with the apps I’ve tried (it’s a me ‘limitation’, not really a Bluetooth or Polar one).

Still, that’s fairly promising when it comes to battery life.  Whether or not it would last a ‘full Ironman’ time of 17 hours is something that remains to be seen.  Hopefully I can rig up a simulator to better capture that.

Day to Day Watch, Backlight, Alarms:

The Polar V800 can (obviously) be used as a day to day watch.  It contains the ability to set a single clock alarm, which can be configured to alarm every day, once, or just weekdays.

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Further, you can configure/change the display on the front slightly to also include your name, which is kinda interesting.  This appears to come from Polar Flow.

The backlight can be turned on by pressing the upper left button.  It’ll stay on temporarily before turning back off.  However, while in an activity you can force the backlight to remain on by holding down the upper left button and then setting the backlight to stay on.  I prefer this for night running.

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Alternatively, you can setup the backlight to activate from either tapping the screen or by touching the V800 to your heart rate strap sensor.

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Finally, I found that I can indeed fit the Polar V800 under a dress shirt without too much issue.  Thus, if you’re wearing it in such an environment it won’t be too hard to keep it out of view.  Note that unlike other Bluetooth Smart connected smart watches (like a Pebble), the V800 won’t display any sort of Bluetooth Smart notifications (i.e. text messages or phone calls).  Polar has noted that this is potentially possible, but as of now it’s not currently on the ‘futures’ list, however, be sure to double-check that section down below.

[Update note: As of April 15, 2015 the V800 can now support Bluetooth Smart notifications. Sadly, this anxiously awaited feature is only available on iOS 8.0 at this time, but they tell us Android support is coming ‘soon’.  So, anyway, with this feature enabled you can get alerts from your iOS device about incoming calls and messages (such as calendar events, emails, SMS, and social media messages) displayed directly on your V800.  You can set the watch to display the basic contents of a message, such as who a text message is from and the first 30-40 characters of said message.  

If a call comes in you can see any available caller ID info and you can ‘Answer’ or ‘Silence’ the call.  If you choose to Silence the ringer at that point (like when you are in a meeting with your boss and a call from your coach comes in), and then you can go further and ‘Decline’ the call, which effectively sends your coach to voicemail heaven.  

And don’t be fooled by the ‘Answer’ option, you can’t hear or speak to the watch, all that does is answer the call in which case you need to slam the phone up to your ear or hope you are wearing earphones or some kind of handsfree device.  And lastly, none of the notification features seem to be sticky at this point.  All notifications (calls, messages, etc.) are only available on the watch for about 30 seconds, after which you have to fish your phone from your pocket (or your fanny pack) to check to see what other messages or calls you might have had come in since the last time you obsessively checked your phone.  Update: July 8, 2015 – Polar added a Scrolling Notifications feature today, allowing you to ‘preview’ up to 4 notifications on your watch.]

[Update note: As of October 5, 2015 the long awaited Android compatibility for Bluetooth Smart notifications has finally arrived!]

Bluetooth Smart Sensor Support:

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The V800 is the first Polar device to support Bluetooth Smart sensors.  Previously, they’ve only supported them via their smartphone apps.  As of this writing, the Polar V800 supports the following sensor types:

– Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed & Cadence Combo Sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Speed-only sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Cadence-only sensor
– Bluetooth Smart Running Stride Sensor (footpod)

Later this summer, Polar will add support for:

– Bluetooth Smart Cycling Power Meters (Updated: Added as of Sept 30th, 2014)

Bluetooth Smart sensors have picked up steam, especially in the past 12-18 months.  They are most popular in the heart rate realm, but are slowly becoming more common in cycling.  I’d wager for running (footpods), they’re pretty rare – with most of that market going to ANT+.  ANT+ is of course the massive incumbent when it comes to sports and fitness sensors, with most of the market currently on that protocol.  ANT+ devices will not work with the V800.  Neither will past Polar W.I.N.D. sensors, which aren’t supported with the V800.  Nor will past Polar-branded Nike+ straps, or Bluetooth legacy (non-Bluetooth Smart straps) – Polar branded or otherwise.

The unit allows you to save a ‘pool’ of paired sensors.  This is awesome, as it makes it super easy if you have a bunch of different sensors lying around (like me).  It’ll automatically connect to what’s available.

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Over the last 6 months I’ve been using a wide array of Bluetooth Smart accessories, both Polar branded and non-Polar branded.  In my testing I’ve found that when it comes to Polar branded accessories things tend to work out just fine.  However, I’ve found the situation rather fragmented when it comes to non-Polar branded Bluetooth Smart accessories.

For example, if I use the Wahoo RPM cycling cadence-only sensor, the V800 will incorrectly think it’s a combo sensor and override the GPS with a zero-value speed.  Resulting in non-correct speed and distance values (0-MPH, 0-Miles).  At the same time, if I use non-Polar footpods, it won’t calculate the stride length, nor does it seem to calibrate at all.  There are other examples, which I’ve outlined below in the table.

Polar V800 Bluetooth Sensor Notes

Sensor NameSensor TypeTested by DCRTested by ReaderV800-specific Compatibility Notes
4iiii's ViiiivaHR, ANT+ to Bluetooth bridgeYes-HR works. Bridge works for: SPD/CAD combo, SPD-only, CAD-only, but not power (yet), or footpod. On cadence-only, same bug as Wahoo RPM below.
Adidas Stride Sensor (Speed_Cell)Running FootpodYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not, nor does jump test
Mio AlphaOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Mio LinkOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
PowerTap BLE HubCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Scosche Rhythm+Optical HR armband sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Sports Tracker Cycling SensorSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader July 7th, 2014)
Stages PowerCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
TomTom Combo Speed/CadenceSpeed/Cadence combo sensorNoYesDoes not pair, does not work, tested as of firmware v1.0.10 (per reader July 5th, 2014).
Topeak PanobikeSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader June 9th, 2014)
Wahoo Blue SCSpeed/Cadence combo sensorYes-All good!
Wahoo KICKRCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Wahoo RPM (V1/V2)Cadence SensorYes-Cadence works, but V800 incorrectly overrides GPS with 0 speed
Wahoo TICKRHeart RateYes-No HRV/RR being sent over Bluetooth yet (coming in update)
Wahoo TICKR RUNHeart Rate, Running CadenceYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not. Note with firmware 1.0.10 for the V800 and 1.5.18 for the TICKR RUN, cadence is now doubled, i.e. 184-SPM instead of 92-SPM.
Wahoo TICKR XHeart Rate, Running CadenceN/AN/A

Note that when you see me list “Non-trusted HRV/RR data” that means that it’s gathering the data via optical sensor.  As of today, optical sensor technology is not capable of gathering true HRV/RR data.  Instead, the companies ‘estimate’ the data (read: kinda fake it).  Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.  This is most visible though in recovery and effort metrics, where you may (will) get inaccurate data on things like recovery time and VO2Max metrics.  That’s because those metrics depend on HRV/RR.  Note that this does not affect straight beats per minute display, but rather only functions like Orthostatic testing, RR display and recovery related estimates (+ the ability to tap/touch the HR strap for certain functions).  So if you don’t use/care about those features, then there’s no problems using an optical sensor.

Next, the V800 includes the ability to rebroadcast your Bluetooth Smart heart rate out to other devices.  This is important because while the next generation of Bluetooth Smart (4.1) devices will support multiple connections to a single sensor, current devices don’t.  Thus if you connect to a heart rate strap with your V800, it would (otherwise) have blocked a connection to another device like a smartphone.  This is particularly important for coaching and gym scenarios, but also for triathletes with multiple devices (i.e. one for running and cycling).

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Polar solves that problem on the V800 by re-broadcasting the heart rate signal so other devices can pick it up.  In theory, it’d be genius (and awesome!).  But in practice, it doesn’t really work out.  That’s because the ‘other devices’ part really only means ‘other Polar devices’.  My testing has found (and Polar confirmed) that non-Polar devices currently can’t see the rebroadcasted signal at all.  Making it rather…lame.

Which, brings me to my final point.  Polar has a long history (read: their entire history) of not playing well with others or industry standards.  Up until now, not a single device has followed an industry standard for sensors.  It’s always been only their own.  With the V800 (and the V650), they’ve been proclaiming that the industry standards of Bluetooth Smart is the “way of the future”.  Thus allowing you to use accessories of any brand.

Except, they’re not really doing that.  There’s no excuse for not correctly working with Wahoo’s products, or the Adidas footpod.  After all, these products have been available for a very long time and are well known as industry standard compliant.  Nor is there an excuse for not properly re-broadcasting the heart rate signal.  Period, end of story, no excuse.  I hope this is merely a transient thing, but it’s also something I brought up months ago.  This is even more frustrating given that Polar actually sits as the chair of the Bluetooth SIG for sports & fitness.  Which is essentially akin to giving the rest of the industry the middle finger.

Mobile Phone Connectivity:

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The V800 is able to wirelessly upload both workouts as well as daily activity tracker data (i.e. steps) directly via Bluetooth Smart to your mobile phone, and then from there to Polar Flow online.  The pairing process is seamless and only takes a couple of seconds to setup.

Once done, you’ll go ahead into the general settings and then into the Bluetooth area (‘Pair and Sync’) to sync the watch.  At this point after pressing ‘Sync Data’ you’ll want to open up the Polar Flow mobile app on your phone to start the sync process.  You can also simply hold down the bottom left button for two seconds to start the sync process.

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For daily activity data I’ve found it syncs pretty quickly.  Perhaps 30-45 seconds depending on when I last completed it.

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However, for fitness data, I’ve found it takes a bit longer.  A rough estimate is 1-minute of sync time for every 1-hour of activity time.  So my 3-hour ride this morning took about 3ish minutes to transfer.  Sometimes it’s a bit longer, sometimes a bit shorter.

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The watch will at the same time automatically download from Polar Flow online any planned workouts (aka ‘targets’) as well as any customizations or changes to settings you made.

Finally, when it comes to looking at your workouts on the phone you’ll get a nice overview on the upper half, followed by graphs of your heart rate and heart rate zones an then a map of your activity:

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There’s more data to dive into once you get off the phone and onto the computer.  Note that from the phone app you can also see planned workouts on your schedule, as well as notification on activity goals reached and an overall training diary:

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Note: While initially only available on iOS, as of December 31st, 2014 Polar has also released Android compatibility for the V800.

Flow Sync & Polar Flow (online):

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In addition to sync via phone, you can also simply plug the V800 in via the included USB cable (which uses a special connector on the watch side).

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In doing so it’ll use Flow Sync to upload to Polar Flow, the included/free training log website.

Once there you’ll get an overview of your recent activity by going to the ‘Feed’ button:

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Alternatively, you can click on ‘Diary’ to open up a calendar view of things.  You’ll see your daily activity shown along the bottom with that grey/teal bar, and then workouts shown up above that with the sport icons.  Everything is totaled at the end of the week to the right.

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You can click on an activity to look at the details of it. The upper half of the activity will show summary stats including total distance, pace and attitude stats:

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While the lower half then transitions into the map.  You can change map types, such as satellite below, or regular map above.

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Below the map is a graph of your heart rate, pace, and cadence.  And next to that heart rate zones as defined for that specific activity.

Finally, below all of that are your splits (laps).  If you’ve setup automatic splits you’ll see those, and then there would be a separate tab for manual splits.

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You can view overall summaries of your progress in terms of totals (duration/distance/etc…) via the progress tab.

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I’ve covered the remaining functionality of the flow site from within the different sections above.  At present, it’s pretty bare bones compared to other sites (like Garmin Connect or Suunto Movescount), but the basics are there.  Also note that at present there’s no export functionality.

That’s coming down the road (again, see futures section).  So at present the V800 only uploads to Polar Flow, and cannot be sent to either 3rd party sites or other Polar sites/applications. (Updated: Added as of Sept 30th, 2014)

Bugs:

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As I’ve been doing on all reviews over the past year or so, I’ve been including a section on bugs and/or issues that I’ve seen within my timeframe using the unit.  Do remember that  a ‘bug’ is different than ‘by design’.  For example, the lack of a feature is something I highlight within a given section is considered ‘by design’, whereas something not really working right is considered a bug.

– Bluetooth Smart sensor pairing consistencies (aka: not adhering to the standards specifications) per the sensor section, with certain types of non-Polar Bluetooth Smart sensors.
– Bluetooth Smart rebroadcasting only seems to work with other Polar devices.  As far as I’m concerned, this is a bug.  They need to fix it to work per the specifications.
– Polar Flow elevation values don’t match unit elevation values, can result in wildly over-enthusiastic ascent/descent values.
– Stride sensor doesn’t autocalibrate for me, resulting in inaccurate run distances
– A tiny little bug with workout targets and goal distance not showing correctly.  If I enter in 10.00 miles, it shows up as 9.99 miles on the unit.  Likely the result of some sort of statute to metric conversion behind the scenes
– Unit froze up once (just yesterday on final firmware).  Was unable to get it to respond to any button presses.  Was actually in the state you see in the ladybug picture above.  First time in 6+ months that’s happened though.  Doing a reset fixed it (pressing four silver buttons at once for 10 seconds).
– H7 strap isn’t working for me underwater, heart rate signal immediately gets cut as soon as I submerge.  Tried multiple straps.  Neither Polar nor I am sure what’s causing this, but I’m reasonably certain this is a one-off issue just affecting me.

Thus far, some of these bugs are ‘moderate’ (Bluetooth ones, stride sensor) and a few are barely noticeable.

Finally, note that the bugs section does not include features simply missing or not planned.  I talk about that more two sections from now in the section titled ‘The Future’.

Comparison Tables:

I’ve added the V800 to the Product Comparison Tool, which means you can mix and match it against any other watch/unit that I’ve ever reviewed for feature comparisons.

For the sake of simplicity, I’ve just selected the Polar V800, Polar RCX5, Garmin FR910XT and Suunto Ambit 2s in the chart below.  However, you can easily make your own chart with any device you want here at this link.

Function/FeaturePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated April 9th, 2021 @ 10:20 am New Window
Price$449$220.00$399$319
Product Announcement DateJan 6th, 2014Mar 21, 2011OCT 4, 2011APR 29, 2013
Actual Availability/Shipping DateMay 2014June 2011JAN-APR 2012May 2013
GPS Recording FunctionalityYesSeparate GPS PodYesYes
Data TransferUSB, BLUETOOTH SMARTirDA WirelessANT+ WirelessUSB
WaterproofingYes - 30mYes - 30mYes - 50mYes - 100m
Battery Life (GPS)Up to 50 hours1 year (GPS separate)20 Hours50 hours
Recording Interval1sAdjustable1s or SmartVariable
AlertsVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/VisualVibrate/Sound/VisualSound/Visual
Backlight GreatnessGreatGoodGreatGreat
Ability to download custom apps to unit/deviceNoNoNoYes
Acts as daily activity monitor (steps, etc...)YesNoNoNo
MusicPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Can control phone musicNo
Has music storage and playbackNo
Streaming ServicesNo
PaymentsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Contactless-NFC PaymentsNo
ConnectivityPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Bluetooth Smart to Phone UploadingYesNoVia Wahoo Fitness AdapterNo
Phone Notifications to unit (i.e. texts/calls/etc...)YesNoNoNo
Live Tracking (streaming location to website)NoNoNoNo
Group trackingNo
Emergency/SOS Message Notification (from watch to contacts)NoNoNoNo
Built-in cellular chip (no phone required)NoNoNoNo
CyclingPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for cyclingYesYesYesYes
Power Meter CapableYesNoYesYes
Power Meter Configuration/Calibration OptionsYesN/AYesYes
Power Meter TSS/NP/IFNPN/AYesNo
Speed/Cadence Sensor CapableYesYesYesYes
Strava segments live on deviceYes
Crash detectionNo
RunningPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for runningYesYesYesYes
Footpod Capable (For treadmills)YesYesYesYes (internal accelerometer)
Running Dynamics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time, etc...)NoNoNoNo
Running PowerWith extra sensor
VO2Max EstimationYesYesNoYes
Race PredictorYes, via Race PaceNoNoNo
Recovery AdvisorYesYesNoYes
Run/Walk ModeYes, via timersNoYesNo
SwimmingPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for swimmingYesNoYesYes
Openwater swimming modeYesN/AYesYes
Lap/Indoor Distance TrackingYesN/AYesYes
Record HR underwaterWith Certain Polar StrapsYesNoNo
Openwater Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Metrics (Stroke/etc.)YesN/AYesYes
Indoor Drill ModeNoN/ANoYes
Indoor auto-pause featureYesN/ANoNo
Change pool sizeYesN/AYesYes
Indoor Min/Max Pool Lengths20M/Y to 250 m/yN/A20m/22y to 100y/m15m/y to 1,200m/y
Ability to customize data fieldsYesN/AYesYes
Can change yards to metersYesN/AYesYes
Captures per length data - indoorsYesN/AYesYes
Indoor AlertsN/AN/AYesNo
TriathlonPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Designed for triathlonYesYesYesYes
Multisport modeYesNoYesYes
WorkoutsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Create/Follow custom workoutsYesYesYesNo
On-unit interval FeatureYesYesYesBarely
Training Calendar FunctionalityYesNoYesNo
FunctionsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Auto Start/StopYesYesYesYes
Virtual Partner FeatureYesYesYesNo
Virtual Racer FeatureNoNoYesNo
Records PR's - Personal Records (diff than history)NoNoNoNo
Day to day watch abilityYesYesNoYes
Hunting/Fishing/Ocean DataNoNoNoNo
Tidal Tables (Tide Information)NoNoNoNo
Jumpmaster mode (Parachuting)NoNoNoNo
GeocachingNoNoNoNo
Weather Display (live data)NoNoNoNo
NavigatePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Follow GPS Track (Courses/Waypoints)YesNoYesYes
Markers/Waypoint DirectionYesNoNoYes
Routable/Visual Maps (like car GPS)NoNoNoNo
Back to startYesNoYesYes (added Aug 30, 2013)
Impromptu Round Trip Route CreationNoNoNoNo
Download courses/routes from phone to unitYesNoNoNo
SensorsPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Altimeter TypeBarometricNoneBarometricBarometric, GPS (FusedAlti)
Compass TypeMagneticNoneGPSMagnetic
Optical Heart Rate Sensor internallyNo
Heart Rate Strap CompatibleYesYesYesYes
ANT+ Heart Rate Strap CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Speed/Cadence CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Footpod CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Power Meter CapableNoNoYesYes
ANT+ Weight Scale CapableNoNoYesNo
ANT+ Fitness Equipment (Gym)NoNoYesNo
ANT+ Lighting ControlNo
ANT+ Bike Radar IntegrationNo
ANT+ Trainer Control (FE-C)No
ANT+ Remote Controlno (but can control GoPro)NoNoNo
ANT+ eBike CompatibilityNoNoNoNo
ANT+ Muscle Oxygen (i.e. Moxy/BSX)No
ANT+ Gear Shifting (i.e. SRAM ETAP)No
Shimano Di2 ShiftingNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart HR Strap CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Footpod CapableYesNoNoNo
Bluetooth Smart Power Meter CapableYesNoNoNo
Temp Recording (internal sensor)YesNoNoYes
Temp Recording (external sensor)NoNoNoNo
SoftwarePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
PC ApplicationPolar Flowsync - Windows/MacPPT/WebsyncGTC/ANT AgentMoveslink Agent
Web ApplicationPolar FlowPPT.comGarmin ConnectMovescount
Phone AppiOS/AndroidPolar BeatsiOS/AndroidSuunto Movescount
Ability to Export SettingsNoNoNoYes (online)
PurchasePolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
AmazonLinkLinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerPolar V800Polar RCX5Garmin Forerunner 910XTSuunto Ambit2
Review LinkLinkLinkLinkLink

The tables are updated dynamically and thus if/when things change that’s represented automatically in this section.  And again, remember you can create your own charts easily here with any product you’d like.

Updates & The Future:

IMG_4228

The V800 is really the first product I’ve written a review for where so much of the product is essentially in the pipeline.  Polar has been mostly upfront about these components, but it does pose a challenge for me in writing this review knowing full well that untold weeks or months from today what I wrote may be substantially different from the current state of the product.

Polar has been unfailingly helpful however in the last week in providing me with an exhaustive spreadsheet of every planned feature through the end of the year, and a timeline when known.  I’ve taken that and consolidated it down to the major items (some are tiny little things), which should help folks make a decision.  Below is a chart that I’ll try and keep up to date as Polar updates me.

Polar Updates/Futures Timelines

FeatureOriginal TimelineCurrent Timeline/Notes
Cycling: Release of Polar Speed-only sensorMid-June 2014Released
Cycling: Release of Polar Cadence-only sensorMid-June 2014Released
Heart Rate: R-R/HRV Recording AnalysisAugust/September 2014Released
Polar Flow: Training Load/Recovery: Combining data from V800, V650, Polar BeatSeptember 2014Released
Polar Flow: Data export to send files to 3rd party apps and services (+ProTrainer)Fall 2014Released - Sept 30th, 2014
Cycling: Power Meter Support for Polar pedal Bluetooth Smart Power MetersOctober 2014Released - Sept 30th, 2014
Cycling: Power Meter Support for 3rd party power metersOctober 2014Released both Sept 2014 & April 2015
Cycling: Release of Bluetooth Smart Keo power meter podsOctober 2014Released - November 2014
Swimming Metrics: Indoor pool swims (distance/strokes/etc…)October 2014Released - November 2014
Daily Activity Tracking: Realtime inactivity alerts on devicesLater 2014Released - Fall 2014
Polar Flow: Ability to move training history from PolarPersonaltrainer.comSeptember 2014Limited support in Q1 2015, expanded in Q2
Mobile Connectivity: Android device support for Polar Flow appEnd of 2014Released - Dec 31st, 2014
Swimming Metrics: Outdoor openwater swims (distance/strokes/map route/etc)Later 2014Planned End of March 2015
Training Programs: Ability to create programs and templates for targetsFall 2014Planned in Q2 2015
Polar Flow: Ability to move training history from ProTrainer5November/December 2014Planned End of March 2015
Routing: Ability to define route on Flow to follow breadcrumb trailEnd of 2014Planned End of June 2015
Footpod support for the M400End of February 2015Released - April 2015
Smartphone notifications for V800/M400 on iOSEnd of February 2015Released for V800 only - April 2015, M400 coming soon
Polar Flow: Ability to manually add training session to log (i.e. no device used)End of March 2015On Schedule
Smartphone notifications for V800/M400 on Android End of June 2015Released for V800 only - October 2015, M400 coming soon
Music control of V800/M400 for phone End of June 2015On Schedule
Internal/accelerometer detection of cadence/pace/speed for V800/M400 (treadmill focused)End of June 2015On schedule

Note that these are best estimates – things can change (timelines or features).  As I always say – be a bit careful in buying products based on promises (no matter what the product or company).  Polar generally has a very good track record in doing what they’ve announced, but a so-so track record in terms of hitting original timelines.

Finally, to that end I’ve put this little placeholder section in here as a way that I can quickly add updates and notes to the review without overhauling the entire review.  Make no mistake I will overhaul as able, but sometimes my schedule just won’t permit me to test a just released feature that same day and write about it immediately.  So this allows me to quickly plop in items of note in the updates world.  Updates that have occurred will have dates next to them, as per below.

June 9th, 2014: There are no further new feature updates at this time.

Over time I’ll incorporate the above updates back into the post as I’m able.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

In responding to a few thousand V800 comments over the last 6 months, I’ve figured out the most common questions (and associated answers) that most folks have.  While many of these are answered up above, the below helps to streamline it a bit:

Does the V800 do live tracking with your phone?

No, not today. Polar says that may be a possibility down the road, but no timelines have been defined.

How can I use the V800 and a Garmin watch device at the same time with sensors?

To do so you’d need sensors that transmit both ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart.  For example, in the heart rate world that’d be something like the Wahoo TICKR, 4iiii’s Viiiiva, Mio Link, Scosche RHYTHM+, and likely others coming down the pipe.

Can I pair the V800 to an optical sensor?

Yes.  I’ve tested it with the Mio Link, Mio Alpha, and Scosche RHYTHM+.  For heart rate it’ll transmit your heart rate just fine.  However, note that it won’t properly transmit your heart rate variability to the V800. This isn’t Polar’s fault, but rather a limitation of optical sensors today.  To that end, you’ll see incorrect recovery numbers.  For example, on one run it gave me a recovery estimate of 178 hours – that’s over a week!  So you’ll have to decide if that’s a tradeoff that you’re fine making.

Will it pair with XYZ Bluetooth Smart sensor?

Well, it depends.  In theory it should, but in practice I see things just aren’t as guaranteed as they are in the ANT+ world.  Stuff like basic heart rate straps tends to work well, but when you get into other sensors there’s often tiny little variants that can cause trouble.  In order to make that clear, I’ve put together a mini ‘caveats’ chart below.  This chart I’ll update as things change.  This is separate from the general ‘accessories’ section at the bottom of the review.  I did that because that chart lists everything that’s compatible (it at least pairs), whereas this shows a few little quirky things of note.

Polar V800 Bluetooth Sensor Notes

Sensor NameSensor TypeTested by DCRTested by ReaderV800-specific Compatibility Notes
4iiii's ViiiivaHR, ANT+ to Bluetooth bridgeYes-HR works. Bridge works for: SPD/CAD combo, SPD-only, CAD-only, but not power (yet), or footpod. On cadence-only, same bug as Wahoo RPM below.
Adidas Stride Sensor (Speed_Cell)Running FootpodYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not, nor does jump test
Mio AlphaOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Mio LinkOptical HR wrist sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
PowerTap BLE HubCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Scosche Rhythm+Optical HR armband sensorYes-HR works, but non-trusted HRV/RR support
Sports Tracker Cycling SensorSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader July 7th, 2014)
Stages PowerCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
TomTom Combo Speed/CadenceSpeed/Cadence combo sensorNoYesDoes not pair, does not work, tested as of firmware v1.0.10 (per reader July 5th, 2014).
Topeak PanobikeSpeed/Cadence combo sensor-YesAll good! (per reader June 9th, 2014)
Wahoo Blue SCSpeed/Cadence combo sensorYes-All good!
Wahoo KICKRCycling Power MeterN/AN/AV800 won't support Bluetooth Smart power meters till August
Wahoo RPM (V1/V2)Cadence SensorYes-Cadence works, but V800 incorrectly overrides GPS with 0 speed
Wahoo TICKRHeart RateYes-No HRV/RR being sent over Bluetooth yet (coming in update)
Wahoo TICKR RUNHeart Rate, Running CadenceYes-Cadence works, but stride length & auto config does not. Note with firmware 1.0.10 for the V800 and 1.5.18 for the TICKR RUN, cadence is now doubled, i.e. 184-SPM instead of 92-SPM.
Wahoo TICKR XHeart Rate, Running CadenceN/AN/A

Note: For the HRV/RR pieces, please see the previous question in this area for what that means and what impact it’ll have.

When will Polar be releasing the blue version?  Or the packaged version without the HR strap?

Both are currently slated for Late July 2014.

Where’s the user manual?

The (very well written and detailed) user manual is located here (PDF).  Just be sure that if you access this link 3 years from now that the manual is the correct version.  As of this publishing it has 89 pages (thus, if it has more, it’s likely updated).

Summary:

IMG_3632

The Polar V800 is without a question a great first step for Polar in getting back into being competitive in the sport GPS market, inclusive of the larger endurance sports watch market as well.  They’ve kicked into new territory being the first company to announce integrated 24×7 daily activity monitoring while also allowing mobile phone connectivity.  From an accuracy standpoint I found the watch spot-on with a slew of other units I’ve been using over the past 6 months (when I first started testing it in late December).

With that in mind though, it’s critical to remember that as the watch stands today it’s not terribly competitive in the multisport market.  As a running watch?  Sure.  But as a full-featured triathlon watch?  No, not even close.  It’s missing a lot of functionality, especially in the swimming department but also in areas like power meter support for cycling.  While Polar has timelines established for those features, from a feature by feature standpoint even if Polar completes all of the functionality as promised it’ll still lack a number of features that other watches have.  For example; the ability to execute more complex workouts, live tracking transmission, or the ability to configure data pages directly on the watch.  And all of this completely ignores the elephant in the room that you won’t be able to get your data to anything other than Polar Flow for many months to come (that means no Strava, Training Peaks or any other site).

[Update Note: July 8, 2015 – Today Polar added Open Water Swimming features (distance & stroke) to the V800; and these metrics are now also available in the Swimming profile for indoor swimming]

Which isn’t to say it’s not a good watch today.  It certainly is.  It’s just not as competitive in the multisport arena as either the Garmin or Suunto multisport units are.  As a pure running watch I’d really have no problems recommending it assuming the features match what you’re looking for.

To that end though I’m really looking forward to seeing what Polar delivers software wise on both Polar Flow and the V800 over the next year.  We have the plan through the end of the year, but it’s how they keep the watch competitive in the marketplace into next winter and spring that’ll be the real question.  If they can deliver everything promised, and then double that again in the following 6 months – I think they’ll be on the right track to really shake up the market.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found this review useful? Or just wanna save a bundle of cash? Here’s how:

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to offer all DC Rainmaker readers an exclusive 10% discount across the board on all products (except clearance items). You can pickup the Polar V800 below. Then receive 10% off of everything in your cart by adding code DCR10BTF at checkout. By doing so, you not only support the site (and all the work I do here) – but you also get a sweet discount. And, since this item is more than $75, you get free US shipping as well.

Polar V800 (with and without HR strap) – Black/Grey
Polar V800 (with and without HR strap) – Blue/Red

Additionally, you can also use Amazon to purchase the V800 or accessories (though, no discount). Or, anything else you pickup on Amazon helps support the site as well (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells). If you’re outside the US, I’ve got links to all of the major individual country Amazon stores on the sidebar towards the top.

As you’ve seen throughout the review there are numerous compatible accessories for the unit. I’ve consolidated them all into the below chart, with additional information (full posts) available on some of the accessories to the far right. Also, everything here is verified by me – so if it’s on the list, you’ll know it’ll work. And as you can see, I mix and match accessories based on compatibility – so if a compatible accessory is available at a lower price below, you can grab that instead.

ProductStreet PriceAmazon
2014 Giveaway Extravaganza
4iiii Viiiiva ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart HR Strap & Bridge
$79.00
$79.00
Garmin Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$10.00
$10.00
Polar Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$12.00
$12.00
Polar Bluetooth Smart Running Footpod (Bluetooth Smart Only)
$79.00
$79.00
Polar H6 Heart Rate Strap (Bluetooth Smart Only)
$58.00
$58.00
Polar H7 Heart Rate Strap (Gym equipment + Bluetooth Smart)
$60.00
$60.00
Suunto Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$10.00
$10.00
Timex Bike Mount Kit (for mounting any watch onto handlebars)
$9.00
$9.00
Wahoo Blue HR - Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Strap
$69
$69
Wahoo Blue SC - Bluetooth Smart Speed/Cadence Sensor
$60
$60

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible.

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2,304 Comments

  1. Sean

    Can the TICK memory heart rate strap work with the v800 for swimming in the “other indoor” mode and transmit data to receiver once out of water? I know that it won’t work in the “swim” mode because Polar has watch setup to only use analog frequency in the pool. I am willing to skip swim metrics to get reliable heart rate.

    I don’t have to typical problem of keeping the strap in place, I’ve got a system that works to keep it there. My problem is that my swimming pool’s chemicals are sometimes so strong that it won’t transmit to the watch. There are days where within an hour workout the watch will collect zero minutes and zero seconds of data despite the fact that I wore the belt and it stayed in the right spot.

    The main reason that I bought the v800 is the training load and recovery calculator. If the watch doesn’t collect good data, it defeats the purpose of those metrics to some extent. Each time it doesn’t collect data, it makes me wish that I would have gotten an Ambit 3.

  2. Big Hammer

    Sean, on occasion I have encountered the problems you described while swimming. I found four solutions:

    1. For swimming, I used the old hybrid chest belt transmitter from my rcx5. It worked, suggesting the problem was with my H7 transmitter.

    2. I then replaced the battery in my H7. That fixed the problem.

    3. On the odd occasion when I encountered a further problem, I took the transmitter off the belt and reattached it.

    4. My friend fixed all his problems by replacing the soft belt (not the transmitter).

    In short: obtaining a heart rate in water is difficult…tht’s probably why the other sports watch makers don’t even bother. Polar does a good job – and I have had no problems while swimming for several months – but gremlins sometimes emerge. Most can easily be cured without significant expense.

  3. Kristoffer

    Hi

    Do you have a compare site, where is it possible to see top five watches. It can be possible to compare these fantastic reviews, for what watch is the best right now?
    I am looking at V800 and Ambit3 Peak for running, trail running and biking. What watch do you see best?

    good day…:)
    Kristoffer

  4. Chris

    Anybody else had issues with wireless syncing to the flow app? My run summary details are going across, but not the gps, heart rate, altitude etc traces. I’ve had it happen twice on real runs, but had it work correctly when I’ve done little trials. I’m going to have to resort to plugging in to sync (bleh) until I hear about a fix, or risk losing details over and over again.

    • Thorsten H

      Yes, I had issues on myself, too :/

      Right after this I read a polar posting on their Facebook-page with a warning about issues in sync and not to use the wireless sync until the (next) update.

      Getting really upset, that this was NOT in this great news section in their flow-world, only on Facebook

    • KilkennY

      Its a known issue since around the first of March. I bet you used a favourite like race pace, route/course or intervals.
      You need to grap the full CTX file with the v800 Downloader and then import the fil to flow using syncmytracks.

    • KilkennY

      link to facebook.com

      How to get your running data straight from your V800:

      Download the V800 Downloader by using this link and choosing V800downloaderinstall.exe

      link to github.com

      Then follow these instructions:

      The V800 needs to be connected prior to running V800 Downloader. When it’s started it will grab a list of all the dates and times with exercises on the V800 and present them. Check the ones you want to download and optionally check the Bipolar Output option on the right side and click the Download Exercises button. It will pop up a directory selection window that will allow you to pick where you want to saw the raw files to. The raw files will then be saved in that directory with the format of a Date directory with a Time directory inside of it. Inside of the Time directory are the raw files off the V800. Files output for Bipolar will be in the directory that the Bipolar hook saves files to. You should be able to run the Bipolar program after downloading activities and get some shiny new TCX/GPX files to play with on Strava, Sporttracks, Runkeeper etc.

      For importing the files into Flow Website you can use the Android App Syncmytracks. If you are running Windows or Mac you will have to install the program Bluestacks first, in order to run it.

      Kind regards
      KilkennY

    • Chris

      Thanks, I’ll definitely look at that. It’s a new device for me so I was a bit lost as to why it wasn’t working. (Some small tests I did worked, just not my actual runs.) Also, while Polar have been quite good about responding to queries via social media sites, they’re not exactly spreading the word. You have to pull the information from them, details on issues like this should be something they’re pushing out to us. At the least they could’ve posted a notice about it on their blog, or the flow website.

    • KilkennY

      You can also read a lot on the fans of polar v800 Facebook site.

    • ThomasR

      I did a course on the V800 a while ago. The iOS syncing didn’t transfer Gps data, but a cable sync a few days later fixed it. No need for v800_downloader in my case.

  5. anders

    Re: Sync / Chris:
    On Android it sometimes helps if I try syncing twice, i.e. something is transferred the first time but the GPS/HR data only on the second time.
    On Android also the sync from the phone to the web is more or less broken, i.e. if I want things to show up on the web I need to sync over USB cable.

  6. Trevor

    I have been syncing wireless via Android with almost no issues at all. Only occasionally does it say sync failed, but after the second sync, it works fine.

  7. Margaret P

    Has anyone paired the v800 with a scosche rhythm? I am interested in this option, but since I mainly use the watch for recovery time/training load, I am worried about its accuracy with the scosche. Is the scosche worth it or should I stick with the polar h7? Is there a chance that this technology will improve? Is the mio link a better option or are both equal in terms of accuracy? Also, I mainly do high intensity interval workouts, cardio, some strength training, and occasional running- I don’t know if the type of exercise matters.

    • Grzeg1

      As Ray wrote here, optical HRMs cannot transmit valid R-R data as of today. Polar is using this data for recovery estimation so it will be incorrect. How much incorrect is unknown as nobody verified this.

  8. Asaf

    Updates about notifications:
    http://updates.polar.com

  9. Question for everyone regarding charging. I recently was having some trouble with my v800 and getting a good GPS signal, contacted Polar, they instructed me to send the watch in to their local service center. They specifically told me only to include the watch. In 4 business days I received a brand new watch (great customer service). This watch however has little plastic guard over the charging port, and the port is slightly deeper. Because of this the watch won’t charge or connect with my current charger. Anyone have any experience here?

    • KilkennY

      Hi Justin.
      The old watch and the new one has different chargers. The new charger has a little cutoff to fit the cap covering the charger port.
      You can use the old charger only for syncing but not to charge.
      So polar needs to send you a new charger.

  10. somehow managed to delete a training file and now would want to recove it.Seems that by deleting it from Polar FlowSync, followed by sync’ing the V800 device (latter still had the training file in diary), the file is removed altogether.Is there a way to retrieve the file which at a given point was uploaded to FlowSync? Have been looking in data folders but there it seems gone as well.Thanks a lot.

  11. MM

    Great review, thanks. Just a question if it is possible to see altitude and temperature without GPS start or just during training session.

    • ThomasR

      You should be able to add a sports profile with GPS turned off and display only altitude and temp. Would have to start a training session, yes. Give it a try.

    • MM

      Temperature works, but altitude shows only ´–‘. I have found another way: push start, then light long and scroll to calibrate altitude-and you current value.

    • MM

      Temperature works, but altitude shows only ´–‘. I have found another way: push start, then light long and scroll to calibrate altitude-and you see current value.

    • Grzeg1

      I think it would be ‘last known altitude’ – something completely random. When GPS gets a preliminary fix, current altitude will be shown in gray. After GPS has been locked to 6+ satellites it will be shown in white.

  12. Nelson Valente

    Hi guys!

    I need a sensor speed for indoor cycling, which is the best choice (quality/price)?

    Thanks!

    Nelson Valente

  13. Joe

    You can use the bluetooth stride sensor from polar – start ‘indoor sports’ connect to sensor, after workout change ‘indoor sports’ to ‘indoor cycling’ if you know who many km (or miles) you made you could edit this via webbrowser too. Great advantage: you can use this sensor for running and for the fitness tests of your v800. With the above sensor you are limited.

  14. Rolf Heimes

    Today I had moisture show up on my v800 that I’ve been using since last June. So far I was very very happy. Hope this can be fixed quickly!

  15. Robert Black

    What’s the verdict on interoperability with the adidas speed cell? does everything work now or not. I’ve searched this entire discussion and the last conflicting posts are #1737/8

    many thanks, Rob

    • Grzeg1

      The latest info I know of was 2 weeks ago on link to forum.polar.fi
      User complained about not being able to get stable pace readout. He confirmed auto calibration not working. Finally agreed to try Polar’s “giant” sensor and confirmed it working properly. So I guess for today the answer is ‘not working’.

    • Robert black

      Thank you. I’ll give the adidas one a miss. It’s not so much the size of the polar one that puts me off, its the Anchorage system they use. Polar sell spares ones so at least I can rotate shoes without unlacing them each day. The smaller type just slips under your laces. I’ve still got a ant+ pod just in case I decide to go back to garmin at some point.

  16. Zdenek

    Is somebody using the V800 training data in the FirstBeat Athlete? I suppose it is possible ( Ray’s compatible table: COMPATIBLE WITH FIRSTBEAT HR TOOLS=YES).

    Thanks for answer.
    Zdenek

    • Robert black

      As far as I’m aware the answer is No. But please correct me if I’m wrong? As I understand it, the v800 uses hrv on the device to estimate recovery time. But does not actually record it to the file that gets uploaded to polar flow. So you’ll have nothing usable to import into first beat athlete.

    • Zdenek

      Thank you, Robert. I was afraid of it. Ray’s compatible table had to be corrected.

  17. Asaf

    Hi Ray
    Lately l’ve started doing some serious interval workouts using polar’s workout planner… BUT, although everything runs smoothly while preforming the workout, none of the laps stats is available for further analysis at the Flow website… Iust the auto laps… Any chance you or perhaps one of Polar’s representatives know of any update in this department? Make me think about The things you take for granted on Garmin…

    • ThomasR

      I suppose there is hope, on Slowtwitch on March 20, to these qestions
      “1. Merging of training target with training in Flow
      2. Ability to see details of phases in Flow website for phased workouts
      3. Ability to set exact targets for pace and or HR rather than just specifying a zone

      Are these things in the pipeline or being looked into at all?”

      Polar USA answered:
      “#1-3 are most likely on the radar for 2105 based on feedback from athletes like yourself”

      Assuming 2105 was meant to be 2015 🙂

  18. Vegue

    Hi Ray

    Have you re-tested v800 with Wahoo RPM?
    In this review you said that it works with cadence, but not with speed, since it overwrites GPS. According to Polar, on version 1.1.70 they made some fine-tuning to improve compatibility with Wahoo RPM.
    Can you tell us if it works now with cadence and speed?
    Thanks a lot.

  19. nachovica

    Hi!!!
    It seems that Polar updated firmware today, with support of iPhone notifications. Android support will come later

    • Derek

      I updated the firmware and iPhone app today. I have a few issues with the implementation.

      1 – When you unlock your phone the watch will display a duplicate notification, minor but annoying.

      2 – there is not a way to look at prior notifications like how the Garmin works (separate notification menu option). If you miss the notification, you have to pull out the phone and look at it.

      3 – (For me the biggest issue) Notifications DO NOT display when you are in an activity/workout. Example: I went on a ride this evening, I did not receive one notification during the ride. When I stopped and saved the activity, the watched was displaying a small phone symbol with a question mark in it. When I dismissed the summary, the symbol went away and I received a notification.

      I have a question on how the Garmin works with regard to number 3, will it display notifications while recording an activity/workout?

      I have been waiting for this update to come out but so far am very disappointed with the lack of functionality.

      Thanks.

    • Adam DV

      Derek, as for #3 above you can only receive phone call notifications during an activity, not other notifications such as email. That question mark symbol you saw means that the Bluetooth connection between the phone and the watch was lost and that is why you did not receive your call notification during your activity.

    • Derek

      Hi Adam,

      I did a little research and found where Polar stated that phone calls are the only notification display while training. It also states that the symbol is displayed to let you know that notifications are suspended (this occurs when the watch is in do not disturb mode as well) which I found out this morning. Also, for the DND, the watch has a separate setting and is not tied to the phone setting. For the notifications while training, I am looking for calls and texts. I need texts in case something happens at work and I am on call. The issues come in as texts.

      Cheers

  20. Mike

    Just as a summary, which tools are now available to have a tcx file successfully uploaded to Garmin Connect? I like to do it manually instead of some automated subscriptions. THX

    • KilkennY

      I use Rungap for IOS.
      If manually, I have to upload TCX to Strava or Runkeeper and then download from there.
      Then GC will accept it.
      But Rungap does it all in one take. Title, notes etc. :-). One click and my activity is shared to GC, Strava, RK, endomondo and health.

  21. Ales Susnik

    You mean besides the obvious one in the Flow (web), Export training to TCX?

  22. AECSUSN

    I got my V800 yesterday and took it for my first jog today. Prior to starting, I was having issues with the sport profiles not showing up, even after several syncs. I finally had to factory reset it twice to get the sport profiles to hold. I like it so far after a relaxing 5K with it.

    • AECSUSN

      Can anyone confirm or deny if the BLE attachment for Powertap hubs will work with this?

    • Bo

      link to updates.polar.com

      “3rd party power sensor compatibility improvements

      We’ve also improved the compatibility for 3rd party power sensors for the V800. We’ve already mentioned compatibilities here, but as from now on, after a close co-operation with the sensor providers, we can also promise a better compatibility for PowerTap, Stages and Wahoo Kickr sensors with the V800. The Stages and Wahoo compatibility requires a software update also from their end so keep an close eye on their announcement boards during these upcoming weeks.”

    • AECSUSN

      If you read that, then click on the link where they suggest they have spoke about it, it is referring to the speed and cadence sensor, not the power meter.

      Can anyone confirm or deny that it works with Powertap’s BLE hub?

      What about using the Viiiiva’s bridge for ANT+ conversion?

      Thanks in advance!

  23. John

    Seriously Polar? You’ve got to be kidding? Why on earth have you not got your act together with the V800? Loyal customers have invested significant amounts of money and more importantly faith and good will in your product. No more excuses please, being very busy is wearing thin. You are losing those who have supported your product for years and ruining your reputation. I’ve owned a 625x for many years and want to like the v800 but quite frankly not willing to invest in an unfinished product which has been on the market for a significant time. Very disappointing. Fenix 3 is looking very appealing. 🙁

    • Is there a particular issue you have?

    • Dietmar

      I’m not John, but I’m also disappointed with the way Polar is doing during the past months. Last example for failing (imho) was the smartmessaging update.
      I’ve been waiting for it and now its there and it turns out you don’t get SMS or iMessages while exercising. Its fine to protect you from those interruptions while training, but why not let the user individually choose what they want to be alerted by? I would like to see my iMessages while running as it could be important for me.

      Second thing with that (while not exercising): message comes in and thats it. Unlike on the Garmin platform no chance to scroll through the messages.

      And finally: my V800 (after loading the new firmware) has displayed 4x now that it has to be reset due to some error…
      and the battery consumption eats up my ressoures nearly completely just over the weekend.

      I’ve been waiting for the V800 since its very first announcements and was grabbing one as part of their Beta program.
      But the way Polar develops is absolutely unsatiesfying in my mind. They make pretty good advertisement, then it takes ages for something to come up with and in the meantime they are delaying, delaying and delaying (or polishing as they call it). Finally they present a solution which has been implemented two or three times better in products of competitors.

      Why still no word of adding Live tracking?

      All of this is just my 2 cent (as not beeing an Athlet running for the ultimate win position). I know people are different, the goals and requirements are different..
      I know there will be people looking at it as just a training device, which have no use for these extra functions (but waiting for Polar to implement other items important to them). But I wear it all the day and as such I like to have additional Smartwatch capabilities.

      But: POLAR, why not make things user selectable? In my mind Polar is behaving way too arrogant.

    • I generally wouldn’t disagree with any of those. The point of my comment was mostly that specificity is key to getting change, otherwise Polar will mostly ignore the comment.

    • Dietmar

      Ray, that’s fine. And clearly its valuable if there is detailled information for POLAR in order to get their hands on.

      But I’ve been in contact with POLAR several times on a few things and unfortunately nothing has happened (so far).

      For example I’ve been stating that my H7 looses BLE connectivity to V800 during most of my 10km runs and then switching automatically to Gymlink. And I’ve been providing screenshots from FLOW clearly showing this (while interestingly enough the connection to the footpod appeared to be reinitializing at the same time the H7 was loosing its connection).
      Now, normal would be to assume this was a problem with either of the H7 or the V800.
      But I was in the lucky position to have 2 V800 and 2 H7 at this time (one was going to be exchanged due to the leaking issue). And both of them were showing the same behaviour. Even when mixing the combination V800/H7. And it was only showing up after the firmware upgrade to 1.3x, never seen that before the firmware upgrade.

      Polar was not reacting in any way.

      Another simple thing:
      Vibration alert is not strong enough for me when running (and having music InEar). Made several suggestions for this (even if there was a hardware limitation preventing to make vibration stronger), eg. ideally user selectable vibration pattern or just a longer lasting vibration…
      No reaction so far.

      Whats so difficult on implementing such simple things? At least it appears they have made the vibration for entering/leaving a set heart rate zone stronger now with the latest firmware upgrade.

  24. John

    This may sound harsh but I feel that the v800 is not so far advanced on a 625x which I purchased in 2006 except for the GPS function and a database in the cloud. The orthostatic fitness test, vo2 max predictions, recovery state prediction etc… Seem to be the same.I currently run strava on my phone and collect data on my 625x. Not un similar to owning a V800 and having sync data to strava manually. We now have a v800 that’s been on the market for over a year, no multiple/bulk data export from polar pro trainer 5, No automatic sync of files to 3rd party software such as strava. Data storage-other than on line is there an ability to back up data on your own hardware? No live tracking? Ability to edit .Surely it’s not too much to expect these features from a current state of the art high performance GPS sports watch? Polar have dropped the ball and need to produce a miracle to regain my confidence. We keep hearing about improvements or should I say releases on features that should have come out on the first release if the V800 was a complete product. I really want to like the v800 and to remain a loyal polar user but it seems the arrogant or naive approach to current and potential polar customers is driving me away. The competition is leaps and bounds ahead in my view. Oh and by the way, Ray I love your site, it’s always a pleasure to read your comprehensive reviews. Great work and respect.

  25. John

    Dietmar raises a very important issue here. Customer relations is just as important as the quality control of your product. “Biting the hand that feeds” is unwise, especially when your clientele are trying to help you improve and rectify issues with your product .

  26. Mike

    I think it is a good product. I like the design but that’s subjective. In Europe it is reasonably priced. If someone doesn’t like it buy something else instead of complaining about it. I don’t think much bigger updates are going to come for that product.

    • John

      Mike you are missing the point. People have already purchased the product with the good will that certain features would be present, a year later and the v800 does not resemble the “top of the range” product in the Polar line. It would make a good mid range product but that is not what it has been marketed to be. Hence the very reason I have not bought it and had decided to eager wait for the basic features to be included. What would a customer consider a reasonable time for the “features” to be instated?

  27. Jon

    I’ve had the V800 for a week now. It’s a mixed bag.

    Pros:
    + Excellent GPS accuracy.
    + Reasonably quick GPS sync. Not as fast as my TomTom MultiSport, but not as god-awful as the Garmin 305s and 310s I’ve had previously.
    + Nice display, but could use more layout options, both for the clock face and training screens.
    + Love the overall training and sleep tracking
    + Battery is good enough for my normal uses, and in ultra mode, better than I’ll ever need. And supports all day watch wearing.
    + Looks nice as a day-to-day watch.
    + Phone notifications are useful, but should have more controls.

    Cons:
    – Flow has been down twice in the week i’ve had it. Additionally, Flow just ate my latest run. I get distance and calories, but no further information. The phone app, and the watch, show everything. But the web service hosed it up, meaning I can’t export it to anything else.
    – No support for Strava, or pretty much any other site. I’m using RunGap to bridge the gap, but it’s clunky. TomTom wins here too. Finish a run, automatically sync up to Strava within seconds. No buttons to push, no fuss, no muss.
    – After using a Wahoo HRM strap for the last year and getting excellent results, it was jarring to see a spike in HR reading again from the H7. I hate spikes. No, my HR can’t go to 220, nor could I hold it there for 5 minutes.
    – Bike mounting options are terrible.
    – The pedometer function is active while riding (and others?). 25 mile ride yesterday showed as 20,000 steps.

    The fragility of Flow, and it’s closed nature, has me concerned. Add some support for effortlessly exporting to other sites, and I’d honestly be pretty happy. But that huge gaping hole with the other problems kinda makes me down on the whole experience. It’s telling that a company with no fitness background (TomTom), and a newcomer (Wahoo), are outpacing Polar with some of these features, whether talking availability or quality.

    • Aaron

      The fragility of Flow, and it’s closed nature, has me concerned

      We’ve (SportTracks) had a number of people ask if they can import Polar data directly into SportTracks, saying point blank if they can’t they will shop for other options (Garmin, Suunto, TomTom, … everyone basically). This started last fall when Polar started aggressively releasing their next generation devices.

      In nearly 10 years this is a first for a “major” device maker and it took us by surprise. For years and years when the answer was “no” – people would shop for another software app, not different hardware.

      We’re not keeping close track but it’s enough to count on hands. And those are the ones motivated to actually type an email in and wait for a response from support. How many others?

      It’s surprising, and I don’t have a good explanation. Maybe there are more watch options in the market? Maybe brand reputation? Maybe people finally realized the importance of data portability and ownership?

      Dunno.

  28. Jon

    Here’s the thing: If you’re going to offer the world’s most unreliable fitness web service, it is imperative that you bake activity export into the phone app. Leaving your users out to dry, and keeping their data captive is not cool.

    Yes, Polar Flow is down again today.

    • Rui Batista

      I agree.

      It’s an old Polar behaviour that I though they’d grown out of — sigh!

      I suspect this behaviour will spawn 3rd party software that will capture power & run metrics for serious athletes on Apple Watch sooner than later. (swimmers may have to wait longer for hardware to be waterproof enough) … if Polar was smart, they’d do that themselves for Apple watch… ( I suspect that won’t happen.)

    • simon kidd

      There is a desktop app called bipolar that will directly export .TCX and .GPX files from the flowsync app without having to export from the Flow service website.

  29. asaf

    Maybe it’s old news, but I just saw on Flow site you can now customize your training views for the preferred Lap method.
    You now have 2 options: If you’re used to Garmin-lap-style, just choose the automatic Lap option for each category (HR, Distance, Speed…). Otherwise, use the regular lap option which is triggered by pressing the red button only.

  30. karl

    Is there any chance to compare two workouts with each other in polar flow or strava?
    Like I do my usual trainingroute a few times a week and want to compare them with each other. Always same distance, but I would like to check when I had a good and when a bad day.

  31. That’s what I call a review. Thanks a lot, you made me decision easy.

  32. Ralph

    Guys,

    One simple question:
    Polar V800 or Suunto Ambit 3 Sport ?

    • Nuno Pinto

      I have an AMBIt 3 and I have furious because of the delay on the android app…however the watch is very reliable, the web-site is not bat, lots of sync options and export. Activity traker sucks….navigation is best than POLAR, I assume because you can import a track to the web toll and sent it to the watch. I am not sure if you can do this already with POLAR. This was the main reason i bought a Suunto in the first place..
      Would I buy again ? NO… by the number of updates POLAR has been releasing, I would bet on POLAR…or maybe Fenix 3 if it proves to be reliable.
      Suunto is not very keen of release updates/features…

    • Karl

      Garmin Fenix 3… 😉

    • Grzeg1

      Polar released Android app 5 months ago. So far I’ve not been able to use it for syncing more than a few times after each reinstall. The result was always broken, unfixable training. Support confirms there are problems with it. Apparently it works for some people, but does not for many either. So it does not matter for me that they released 2 or 3 updates. I’d prefer just one that works.

  33. Florian

    Stages compatibility is FINALLY HERE!!!

    After Stages’ firmware update yesterday, everything works great so far.
    See my mini-review here:
    Link to slowtwitch

  34. Sven

    After my third 920XT giving up on me I’m considering changing to Polar. I’m almost convinced except for on thing. When I program a workout like this:

    1. 30′ warming up
    2. 15″ sprint (repeat x times)
    3. 1′ rest (repeat x times)
    4. Cooling down

    will it alert me when I have to start sprinting/resting (vibration alert) like the 920XT does (if it works that is)
    In your review you say it doesn’t, but I hope it does in the mean time (after an update)

    • anders

      It does give alerts whenever you change phase, but the vibrations and sounds are a bit weaker than on garmin.
      What I and many others find frustrating is that that while the V800 will show you split times/distances/hr etc for the sprints/rests while you perform the workout it does not store these for later analysis. This has been a known issue for at least 6 months now but so far no fixes.
      I like to do e.g. 1km repeats and while I do the workout I see the split-times for each work-phase, but these are nowhere to be found when I get home and upload the workout to flow 🙁

      Have you looked at the Garmin Fenix 3 or the latest Suunto Ambit? The software support for the V800 is so poor that I am seriously considering something else after about 8-10 months with the V800.

    • Johan

      Are you saying that you cant see the recorded split times in neither the watch nor in Polar Flow? That cant be true?

    • If I remember correctly, it doesn’t show auto-splits, just manual splits.

    • Ivo Abreu

      Hi and thanks for nice work in this website. At this moment in workouts training the V800 gives beep sounds and vibration alerts when a new stage of workout begins? Still the problem with lack pace in automatic laps? Best regards.

  35. Sven

    My main sport is inline-skating.

    – Ever since Garmin switched from Sirfstar to Mediatek chips I found the real time speed on the track to be unreliable. Sold my Fenix 2 because of that reason. (and the recent experiences with Forerunner 920 didn’t make me happy too)
    – Suunto has no vibration alert to start a next step in a workout. Need this when skating with my arms on my back.

  36. Bo

    Hi all,

    I have noticed that some people recommend a Fenix 3.

    I suggest anyone interested Googles “Fenix 3 gps issues”. Seems tons of people have problems (erratic pace and distances that are far too short) in different environments. V800 gps works very reliably.

    Cheers,

    B

    • Jon

      Garmin’s quality, IMO, is crap. Multiple 305s and 310s and their horrible customer support have chased me away forever. However, Polar’s service reliability is just as concerning until they provide a way to get your data without requiring Flow. For the 2nd time in a week Flow has corrupted my event. The data’s fine on the phone, but exports happen at the web site, and it munged the data so I can’t get to it. Add to the data corruption issue the multiple service outages in the 3 weeks I’ve had my v800. The option to share data from the phone is a basic requirement, even more so with these issues.

      TL;DR:

      Polar v800: Excellent hardware, and (recently) firmware.
      Polar web services: Unreliable and prone to corruption.
      Polar mobile app: Needs export/share option pronto.

    • anders

      My experience with the GPS on a Garmin 910XT was very good – it’s a bit surprising if Garmin has gone wrong with GPS on the Fenix 3?
      The V800 GPS seems similar to the 910XT (i.e. good), although the tracks do differ in sharp corners and in urban areas with high buildings etc.

    • In general, the way the interwebs work you can search for any problem by adding the name of the problem after the name of the item. For example: Squished Bananas. Or, Deadly Mice. Or, as it may be Fenix3 GPS problems. You can also search for any GPS product ever created with the words “GPS Problems” after them, and find endless entries. The more that product was sold, the more results.

      As for the Fenix3, there appears to be some folks seeing issues in wooded environments where the person is moving fast and it shorts the distance on tight turns (switchbacks). It doesn’t appear to be an issue in any other environments. Garmin has stated they are aware of it and working on a fix.

      Ultimately, there are tradeoffs in every product. No perfect product/platform/etc exists.

  37. Jorge

    Hi all,

    I received my second V800, ( The first one had battery expansion), this one have a protector cap but i can not charge the unit without pressing hard the clap. Some body have the same problem ?

    Many Thanks

    Jorge from Peru

    • Jorge, I had the same problem, when I had to send my original unit back. The newer ones actually need a different charger, I just called Polar and then sent me the correct charger for the new unit right away.

  38. Sven

    If I use both the V800 (for most workouts, and most days activity tracking) and M400 (for inline races, and activity tracking on race day (so I don’t have to carry my V800 to the race) will this be possible or will it conflict in Polar Flow? Will they sync VO2 Max/recovery status/training calendar?

    • Karl

      Hi Sven, I think this is not possible, because you only can use one product to count your activity tracking.
      Cheers
      Karl

    • Sven

      link to polar.com

      Here they say you can combine Polar Loop and Polar V800 so I would guess M400 also works.
      If not I guess I can just use it for racing and extreme circumstances where it can experience some beating without using it as an activity tracker.

    • Sven

      Received my V800 as replacement for my third faulty Forerunner 920XT today and picked up a 2nd hand (almost new) M400 for the money difference between the two. I wore my V800 a few hours and Flow shows the activity from the V800. Then I changed to M400 and then activity is shown from the M400. It automatically picks the most active device, and syncs that data into the same Flow account. Happy I switched over to Polar.

  39. Jorge

    Many Thanks Sven for your support. I will ask Polar Friends.

  40. Nick Lippa

    Ray, I think I read this Polar V800 review no less than 20 times in the last few months and read all the user comments as well. I finally decided to sell my Fenix 2 on Ebay and purchase the v800. In only one week I am kicking myself for not buying it earlier. It is (IMO) hands down better than the Fenix 2 for my purposes. I just grew tired of waiting for a satellite reception and a phone connection with the Fenix 2, way too much trouble!

    I run 3 times a week, Spin 3 X a week, do weights 2 X a week and my wife and I do a Sunday morning high intensity workout called Body Attack. This v800 measures everything aspect of our training with Data I can actually use and benchmark against. I can use my wahoo RPM sensor in spin class as well and it syncs to my iPhone with a push of a button.

    In the last 2 years I have tried about 7 or 8 different devices and so far this is the best I have tried for my purposes as I do a mixture of exercises. It also syncs with myfitnesspal and this is great too as I have lost nearly 70 lbs in the last 2 years using it. Thanks for the review Ray from Ontario Canada.

  41. Ana

    Hello!
    I have a Polar V800 and I want a speed/cadence sensor to transmit to a Garmin Edge 500 (Ant+) but I want to also record the data in the Polar V800 (BLE). Would a Wahoo Blue SC2 sensor work for that? Do you know if it can transmit both signals simultaneously?
    Thanks a lot and regards from Barcelona, Spain !

  42. Herbert

    Thanks a lot for what I believe is the most helpful review ever, on any kind of product that I seriously use. I found your page only 3 days after I purchased my V800, but I still found a lot of your findings very valuable. For example you saved me from putting my watch on the roof over night to test the battery endurance. I am a marathon runner, so for my needs I am already more than happy, that my Garmin Forerunner305 broke. Silly me, I was totally unhappy when I figured that this most reliable device was discontinued long ago (I had 3 devices, all of them did give me years of heavy usage). Now that I have the V800, I enjoy my training even more.

    Here comes my question: On marathon races, I have always used the average pace value on the Forerunner305, to see if I am on track for the finishing time that I had set myself. Now the race pace feature of the V800 seems to be highly advanced for that purpose. I have done a quick half-marathon today for fun, where I used that feature. I works great to push my limits and gives me all the information that I need. (I used to write the mapping table from finishing time to average pace on my lower arm, but last year at a marathon, I was sweating so much, that the writing was not visible any more and that caused me to miss my target time by 7 seconds. Very disappointing.) BUT: the little drawn runner on the display seems to be always in the middle of the screen, even with me being 6 minutes ahead of time at 20km into the half marathon. Is there a trick? Can I set the sensitivity of the ahead/behind display of that little fellow?

    Thanks again (and sorry if my enthusiasm on the V800 produced a bit too much text here…:-)

    • Thorsten H

      Hi Herbert,

      while AFAIR ( ok, it is only 4hours away :/ ) the little runner stays always in the middle of the screen, the V800 shows in the top line the time being behind (on the right side) or in front (on the left side), but with very tiny font

    • Grzeg1

      It was reported to Polar as a bug and more or less confirmed by them like 1-2 months ago.

    • Herbert

      Thanks a lot for coming back on my question. I was able to snap a photo today of the V800 showing the little runner on the left side of the display. But apparently this function is really buggy, as there is only the left side position (before you start to run) and the middle position (once you have started to run).
      So lets hope they fix this soon. The race pace works as it is, but it would in fact be even more intuitive if the position of the runner would have a meaning.

      Have fun everyone!

  43. Oscar

    Hi guys. First thing , thanks for this site … and good work. I understand that it is not your purpose to compare GPS accuracy deeply , but I think it is one of the most wanted features, if not the top one. I had an RC3 GPS and I was happy with it until I started exporting to Strava and see maps in detail… so many wrong reads… that explained why I was getting 100,200 meters of different in the same route between sessions… So I decided to look for a change. And then I tried an Ambit 2 , Ambit 3 and V-800 . Got them at the same time, did same routes , also went to an athletic track , etc. I will save you the details but v800 beats them by far . Ambits do it decently well in open air , but when we are talking about trees, buildings , etc I see V-800 very consistent and with very good accuracy.
    In fact Ambit2 usually did better than Ambit 3 . I hate lot of missing things in polarflow , and others in V-800 but I wanted GPS accuracy.
    There is a race for technology in watch sellers ,and I think that brands didn’t do their homework last year.
    Oscar

  44. Richard

    I am debating a V800 purchase. I currently have a Viiiiva HRM and want to know if the bridge will allow me to use a garmin ant footpod cadence sensor with the watch? I thought it was referred to above that it does but want to verifiy.

  45. myneur

    Hi, don’t you have any GPS tracks (GPX or whatever) of V800? I am deciding between V800 and Fenix 3 and want to evaluate GPS precision, which is quite critical for me, because (except for the running/biking) I want to use the device for OpenStreetMap where the GPS accuracy is quite critical. I would say the best for it is to see the patterns of GPS inconsistencies in the map.
    Thank you, m

    • KilkennY

      Hi. Here’s some goodnight reading:-)
      link to fellrnr.com

    • Oscar

      I don’t mind sharing with you some of my gpx files , but I would have to draw also the real route , a little time consuming. I’ve got some of athletic track in open air — 400, 800 and 1200 meters, but in open air most recent watches do it well. The problem is the city !!!
      All I can say is that my V-800 is wonderful in terms of GPS accuracy. It lacks of good features I also need, but today , there is no perfect watch.
      I think we don’t believe things until we see them with our eyes.
      Pick both , test them for 1 or 2 weeks and return the one you don’t like. Many web pages allow free returns even if you “used” it 🙂

  46. Maciek

    Hi there,
    First of all – good job with the reviews! It really helps with choosing the right gear!

    I am user of v800 and have a question regarding workout creator on Polar Flow.
    Let’s assume, that I have such training to do – 15min of warm up and than 10 times of 400m on track with X minutes pause. I would like to set pace for 400m laps (eg. 4:20min/km) but without setting a distance (because I’m running on track…), so I can manually change the phase of training to pause… than again to lap with 4:20min/km pace, and so on… It was possible in Garmin 310xt by pressing LAP button (In workout creator simply by choosing “lap button press”) right after I finished 400m line.

    So the question is – Is it possible? What I see, there is an option “manual” in menu of starting next phase… but you stille have to fill window with time or distance, which is rather weird for me.

    • Sven

      No it’s not possible. At least not the same way as the Garmin.
      You indeed have to set a distance or time. A workaround is to set this to a very long time or distance (longer than you expect that phase to take) and tick the ‘manual’ option. That way you can press light a few seconds and choose ‘next step’ from the menu.
      But this is only a workaround and imho not possible to use while doing a workout. It should indeed have a ‘lap button press’ option for the next step. If this is added V800 would be perfect for me!

  47. Josh

    Ray, deep discounts currently on the V800 on Amazon, currently around 28% off with HRM ($370ish USD). With all the boasting you read about accuracy with the V800, what are the main reasons you aren’t using this device as your daily driver and does this price drop signify a new device coming or change your recommendation status? It’s difficult to resist ordering to give Polar a try at such a steep discount.

    • Richard

      For even further discount. Heart Rate monitors USA has the same price as Amazon. They are also running a 10% percent off memorial day sale too. That helped me decide to pull the trigger on the purchase.

    • A few major reasons:

      – No ANT+: Which means it won’t work with virtually all power meters I have, as well as the footpods I have that actually work properly.
      – No TrainingPeaks or Strava sync: Annoying
      – No openwater swim support

      But there’s tons of little things. For example, I’ve been using the metronome a lot recently on the Fenix3, it’s not there on the V800. When you look at data fields, I hate that I have to use a computer to change them (the V800), versus the Garmin series. Same goes for getting files off the devices, I have to connect to Polar Flow and get the files there, versus just USB pickup of files. Again, so many little things…but they all add up.

    • Josh

      Yep, good ole FR620!!

    • Jnu

      You could also use BiPolar to get the training files. (link to github.com) Actually it’s much more practical way to get them than downloading them from Flow.

    • Marathon Man

      Any idea when Polar might be replacing this device…. I’m making the move from long term marathon runner to triathlon training and have been a long term Polar user. I like the V800 but can’t help feeling their follow up device will be far more competitive.

      Also – any idea when the ability to migrate data from Polar Personal Trainer to Polar Flow will actually happen? I see they have pushed it back to Q3 now.

  48. Gustav

    I managed to find the V800 for $350 so I pulled the trigger on it. I highly regret doing so and will return it if I can. The reasons are.

    1) HRM does not work under water. Maybe my unit is faulty but it’s annoying as hell on a brand new device.
    2) I really miss drill mode in pool swimming. There is really no good way to follow my workouts for swimming when this is missing.
    3) It’s unable to pick up cadence from my Wahoo TICKR X. It’s not doubled like Ray reported for the TICKR Run. It’s completely missing.
    4) No auto sync to STRAVA. Yes, I did know that was missing before I bought it but I underestimated how much I would hate doing it manually.
    5) Polar Flow is pretty crappy compared to Garmin Connect. It wouldn’t have mattered so much if auto-sync to STRAVA worked but as it is…

    I have contacted Polar about 1 and 3. We’ll see how they respond.

    • Gustav

      Oh yeah, almost forgot

      6) The activity tracking feature on the watch is a huge joke. It logged 10.000 steps on my 1 hour bike ride today. Yes, really, 10.000. As I understand it, in the beginning Polar didn’t actually give you the number of steps, just some measure of activity towards some arbitrary goal that is ill defined. And that kinda wouldn’t be so bad because I imagine that accurate step counting on the wrist is difficult. But since they actually have started giving you a number for the amount of steps taken then the watch should be smart enough to not log STEPS when you’re actively using it to log a bike ride.

    • Jnu

      Have you actually read the manual?! The steps counted during exercise is not the steps that the watch has registered – it’s the exercise strain transformed into steps!

    • Gustav

      Hi Jnu

      I’ll fairly admit that I hadn’t read the manual until you brought it up and you are probably right in that that is what the watch is actually doing. But that is missing the point. As long as the watch logs 3 different activity metrics in the activity tracking section and as long as they all add up to your daily total then it does not make sense to convert cycling to steps. That is all.

  49. vcortelora

    I have been told that the inclination works with the new wahoo sensors. Can anyone confirm it?

    • Iker

      It does work perfectly fine with Wahoo speed and distance (BlueSC). However, in current software the inclination is rounded to whole numbers: no decimal. This happens with all sensors, not just wahoo

  50. Sven

    Hi all.
    I’m having trouble seeing some activities double in Polar Flow. One activity shows all data (HR, track,…) The other actvity only shows the time and calories used. They do ad up to the weekly totals.
    Is it just faulty syncing or am I doing something wrong.

    I’m using both V800 and M400. This has happened with activities from both devices.

  51. Nick Franks

    Dear All

    I’m using the V800 in the pool to measure my HR and SWOLF stats following injury that prevents me running.

    I swam 50 lengths of a 25m pool today and it only showed a distance of 650m. Amy ideas?

    Many thanks

    Nick

    • Jen

      My guess would be that the default pool length in your pool swimming sport profile is set incorrectly at 50 yards? And then somehow one extra lap was recorded. I did 83 laps in a pool three days ago and it was spot on at 2075 yards.

  52. Anatoliy Turkin

    I’ve had the M400 for a couple of week now. Nice watch. Several sport profiles is a great functionality.

    My favorite sport activity is cross-country (nordic) skiing training and competitions including freestyle and classic skiing/rollerskiing, as well as forest running. Usually skiing distances are calibrated arbitrary (+- 10 m or more). Moreover in winter time because of variable snow conditions (lack of snow; dangerous icy slopes etc.) nordic skiers use distances consisting of several closed laps, say 1.27 km. At the moment only one decimal place is reserved for setting Lap Distance in the watch. In ‘Manual Lap mode’ lap distances are recorded up to second decimal place, which can be seen in Polar Flow detailed view of lap metrics. However in the table lap distances are rounded to one decimal place.

    Surely, I can use manual mode. However, in my opinion, for consistency, the accuracy should be the same both in the hardware and the software, namely, two decimal places in km (miles) representation, i.e. 10 meter precision. Note that in *.csv file the distance is written with 10 cm accuracy.

    The second question. The watch report the lap data when the lap is completed. However the lap number is too small on the display to be seen while moving.

    My question to users of V800: the same behavior of V800? can I set lap distance with 10 meter precision?

  53. asaf

    Something new:
    For the first time I see Strava associates the uploaded file with “Device: Polar V800”.
    I actually noticed it after seeing my total ascent on Strava is similar to v800 (usually it’s inflated since Strava treats the data as non-barometric based).

    • Indeed. They must be getting it from the Creator element of the TCX file; eg:

      Polar V800
      0
      13

    • Sorry, the XML get interpreted as HTML and stripped. Here’s an escaped version (might work):


      <Creator xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:type="Device_t">
      <Name>Polar V800</Name>
      <UnitId>0</UnitId>
      <ProductID>13</ProductID>
      </Creator>

  54. David

    I’m convinced that the V800 has shown just how good the RCX5 really was, and remains.

  55. Mo

    Hi,
    I have had my polar v800 since July, no real issues besides the usual software issues at times until recently I have noticed the watch screen fogging up on the inside. I noticed where the charger port is, on the top the little plastic part is cracked and looks like that is how some perspiration has gone into the watch. I have emailed Polar and still waiting now, a week so far.
    Anyone have any suggestions or had this issue as well. I am not that rough on the watch so I do not know if it is typical after almost a year for it to break down.
    Any comments is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Mo

    • Kyle

      HI Mo,

      I am looking for a new HRM because my Polar FT60 is lost some functionality with the first battery change (at the 13 month mark). I wrote Polar and they responded within hours. Please reach out to them again.

      Hopefully another experience helps you and your decisions.

    • Mo

      ok thanks,
      I have used Mio hear rate wrist wrap for almost a year as well and like it as I generally do not like the chest wrap.

    • Mo

      Emailed them again and they replied today 🙂
      Sending the watch in, it is weird working out without after almost a year of wearing it when I am awake.

  56. Kyle

    Community, I could use your insight!

    How useful/informative do you find the “training load and recovery status” feature on the V800? Is that feature alone worth the price difference between the M400 and V800? If you have any experience comparing Garmin’s features with Polar’s, that would be very useful too.

    I suspect that I tend to “over train” and don’t always recognize the symptoms of “over training” early enough, thus, the question.

    Thanks!

    • Mo

      For me no, I have not found the recovery status useful, when I have over trained it has not really showed it, but that is me. In my opinion that is not something we need a watch to tell us.

      Mo

    • Roveurboat

      I have tested that feature quite a bit over the past 6 months. My conclusions are that it put a lot of weight on distance vs effort. For instance i can do a 10 mile run very slow and feel pretty good afterwards. My load will tell me that i need to wait some 46 hours to get “balanced” again. Now, if I do a 4 mile high tempo run after which I am spent, the unit says it was moderate and maybe an 11 hour period to “balanced”. I’ve kinda lost faith in this feature unfortunately. It was one of the big reasons I purchased the v800. I will say I love everything else about the watch though. Polar Flow is pathetic.

    • Harrison

      I’ve used it for almost a year. One half ironman and a full ironman.

      The recovery status on Polar is useful guidance for when to do a quality/taxing workout and when to do recovery, easy, moderate workouts. When I mean “guidance”, it should give you timelineof how much “physical toll” a “type” of workout it does to your body and how long it takes to recovery.

      It does not mean, you have to adhere to it strictly, I would call the recovery feature more like a “if i’m going to do something stupid or crazy, how would it affect the rest of the week?”. It does provide a reasonable training load ramp up (on training peaks it was about a 4 ctl ramp/week).

      It only works well if you do the following:
      -Accurate weight and age
      -Fitness Test (this variable seems to be important to the training load)
      -Orthostatic test regularly (Look at if you’re above or under your average and if there’s a trend
      -Activity setting
      -ACCURATE hr max values.

    • Harrison

      Forgot to add:

      Hours a week of training

    • Kyle K

      Thanks so much. This was very helpful.

    • Caroline

      Someone at Polar told me that the recovery feature is linked to physiological features of the heart rate, not to how much work you do. It would be easy to test that: work out really hard without the monitor, and then immediately do a light workout with the monitor, and see if the recovery time reflects the hard workout. I haven’t done that, and right now my watch is not even connecting with my laptop, but I intend to ask Polar in writing if it really is physiological, and then test it if they say that it is. If it’s just guess work based on a bunch of factors, I can do that myself!

    • Kevin

      I can tell you this: I am in a fitness class 4 days a week. I have the same HIIT workout Monday and Wednesday, I have done it with the HR connected to the V800 while recording the workout and w/o the HR. The recovery time for the two are drastically different. The one with HR was EXTREME and the one w/o HR was Moderate.

  57. Johannes

    Hey Ray,

    ever noticed that the V800 has a serious issue with calculating GPS based distance when moving slowly (e.g. when hiking steep uphill with a child on the hand). Recently I had a hike with my son where V800 / Flow said it was 7.75km and the GPX Track uploaded to STRAVA says 11.1 km. Ouch! Ah and the Autopause Feature was NOT turned on. Want to see some Details, posted a detailed description on Polars Forum:

    Wasn’t the first session like this. Notified Polar Global Support in November about this and got a “is forwarded to the tech specialists, we’ll keep you posted” answer. Since now no news and I notified them in May again, but still got no answer.

    Not very impressed, that bug fixing has such a low priority. Maybe you should include this test case in your reviews for the new products on the same code base.

    • Ales Susnik

      Do you have 5 seconds or 1 second recording?

    • Johannes

      The V800 has only 1 and 60secs GPS recording and it is / was 1. If you look at the raw data (gpx / tcx) everything is recorded fine in 1 secs intervals (altitude, gps point, hr….) except distance which is not updated.

  58. Peter

    Cadence Sensor not functioning
    Hi I have found the cadence sensor has stopped working. I also find the battery cannot be replaced, ouch. I do notice that the small red light does flash when starting the bike. Unit is not much more than a year old. Have others found similar issues?
    cheers
    Peter

    • Iker

      Several bricos on the web to change the battery: not much to loose if things go south and then consider another brand with replaceable battery as your next:
      link to youtube.com

    • Iris

      Hi, I had the same problem, cadence was not working regularly, sometimes it worket sometimes it was “0” or “–” during biking. Even warranty change of V800 and sensors did not work.
      After cross test with a frients Polar equippment I found the solution, I solved the problem by changing the magnet, the original one from polar ist too samll, now with my old much bigger Wahoo Magnet it works!!

    • Iris

      PS: Also my Wahoo cad and speed sensor paired for testing did not work correclty with the Polar magnet.

    • Peter

      Cheers thanks for the feed back

  59. Markus

    There’s a mention of a run/walk mode via timers with the V800. What do you mean by this, I would be interested on that option as my running terrain is always so varying with altitude that a irregular runner like me can’t run every hill there is. The elevation change is over 140 meters between the highest and the lowest point, and I’m worrying that if the watch calculates the kcal consumption of the body based on the running activity, it will mess things up a bit.

  60. klaus

    do somebody know if the v800 already support other bt powermeters
    like the Vector or the upcoming Powertap P1?

  61. Marathon Man

    Bonjour Ray
    Will the V800 work with the FitLinxx AmpStrip when that is released?
    Any idea how Polar intend to handle devices like Stryd for running?

    Thanks
    MM

  62. Kenneth

    Any updates when it comes to the need to have a speed sensor connected in order to see incline?

  63. Kris De Nys

    Hello Ray, any inside news on a polar update concerning the open water metrics and heartrate registration ? I find it’s quite silent concerning this subject from polar’s side. I believe they said last year that we could expect an update in the spring of this year?

  64. Grzeg1

    nice site for those who want to sync to Strava: link to flow2strava.com

  65. Maciek

    Hey anyone got this issue? –
    Everytime I set data fields on screens in flow and one of them is eg automatic lap avarage pace, right after another sync this one particular data field is gone. So for instance I set 4data fields like distance / time / avarage pace / automatic lap avarage pace. After sync I got only three left – distance / time / avarage pace. I tried soft reset of the device, and it didn’t help.

  66. Josh

    What happens with this device next? Does polar eventually allow cadence to be displayed without a footpod? Perhaps a smaller footpod and still making cadence independent of said pod? Or a new watch altogether?

    • That’s still the plan (cadence via internal).

    • Josh

      Fwiw the person at customer service said cadence can be displayed while running outside WITHOUT a footpod at present. After repeating my question several times he seemed convinced that yes this is absolutely the case. Bad info??
      Also, for smart notifications, he said they feel interrupting an activity by allowing texts to come thru on the watch is something they will not change. Seems to me to defeat the purpose and perhaps would have made more sense to give the user that choice to make on an individual basis.

  67. Karl kühne

    Howdy
    I got my V800 in january and I am pretty happy with it. I wear it really all the time. Today I realised the wrist band starts to break. Does somebody else has the same problem? Is it possible to get it changed from polar? I know it is no easy. It would be horrible if I couldn’t use the V800 anymore because of the damn wrist band. Would that include the warrenty? If so, I could imagine polar has a serious problem to earn money with this watch…
    Thanks for your help.
    Karl

  68. Mo

    Yes, I recently sent mine in and they replaced the bands. Just go to their site and follow the direction there. You pay for shipping.

  69. Sam

    I did my best to sort through comments but I wanted to know if anyone has found a fix or work around for using the HRM while swimming and not having it fall off. Thanks!

    • Ales Susnik

      Tri swim suit is the only thing that is gonna keep it in place.
      Or a swim shirt (heavy).
      You can get a good one for 50 USD, or a really good one for 250 USD.

  70. Mo

    I like the mio wrist HRM, fairly accurate 🙂 only solution I can think of.

  71. Joerg

    any news about:

    “ROUTING: ABILITY TO DEFINE ROUTE ON FLOW TO FOLLOW BREADCRUMB TRAIL – PLANNED END OF JUNE 2015”

    ?

  72. Julie Schultz

    Hello,

    Thank you for your review. I would like to know if I would be able to see calories burned WHILE working out on the v800.

    Thank you.

  73. KilkennY

    Hi Julie.
    No problem there. You just set up the calories datafield on screen:-) you can have up to 4 datafield son every window.

  74. KilkennY

    Anybody having experience with using Scosche Rythm+ with the V800. The H7 band is scratching up my chest, so I need something else.
    Does the V800 still deliver the running index of using Scosche?
    Kind regards kenni

    • AlexSer

      Scosche Rythm+ works fine with the M400, so I can only assume it works also fine with the V800. The things that I have found not to be working with the Rythm+ is the fitness tests.

    • KilkennY

      Thanks AlexSer.
      For The fitness test I have the H7, as long as I don’t have to do long runs with it. :-).
      Thanks for your reply :-).
      KR kilkennY

    • Gunnar

      Confirmed. Scosche Rythm+ works with V800.

  75. JorgeP

    Any news about the smart notifications ( Android ) for V800?

  76. Chris

    I wouldn’t expect too much. In my experience with the iPhone it chews through the battery on the V800, and frequently crashed it – requiring a soft restart. I disabled it a few days after it was released.
    Is anybody using it as a smart watch and happy with it?

    • JorgeP

      That doesn´t sounds good . I’m curious how it will work with Android….thank you

    • Jon

      Not my experience at all. I’ve been using notifications with a 5S since release and have had 0 problems. There is a slight impact in battery life, but not bad. Never had a crash.

    • Chris

      Good to hear, hopefully the updates today fix my problems. I liked being able to reject phonecalls from the watch, but the downsides weren’t worth it.
      I’m using an iPhone 6.
      For me each day of smartwatch time seemed roughly equal to 2-2.5 hours of gps training time (as far as battery life goes.)
      It’d crash about 4 times a day. It resets super quick, but pushing all four buttons while it’s on your wrist can be a challenge.
      Anyway, hopefully the new firmware that’s just downloading onto it now with the open water swimming activated will fix the crashing at least.

    • Chris

      Just wanted to add – notifications have worked flawlessly for me also since the 1.5.1 firmware update. No crashes, and much less battery drain as well. Very pleased.

  77. KilkennY

    I love The notifications and is very happy with. No issues at all.
    I used to charge once every third week, and after enabling notifications I charge every second week. Not much drain there.
    Off course the more you train the less you will notice.
    Only issue that I hope will get fixed in next update, is that I would like to be able to read the hole message. And maybe for it to support smileys, icon etc.

  78. joel

    Great that the updates keep coming. Now I’m waiting for notifications for Android and automatic sync with traningpeaks, sporttracks and so on.

  79. Arnout

    Yessss the new outdoor swimming update finally there!

  80. Chris Perkins

    Anyone else had charging/syncing issues? Currently in week 2 of waiting on Polar to repair/replace after unit would not sync without clamping the charging unit to it (with a chip clip). Feedback from customer service has been sketchy at best. Not cool since I am 14 weeks out from a 1/2 IM…will update with their turnaround times.

    • Liam

      Also having very erratic charging issues Chris. Will vary from charging perfectly to appear to charge and wake up to 9%, to also needing to clamp.
      Already had a battery expansion replacement, so hoping not that again.
      I also kind of think it’s related to contacts, per Rui’s point below, as giving them a good clean, has sometimes remedied the situation.
      Still waiting for Polar to revert. Their initial diagnosis was around the cable, so waiting on new part.

    • Tomas

      Had the same issue – check for “battery swelling” – typically the need to use a clamp comes from the fact that the battery is swelling – which expands the watch and reduces the contact. I had this problem – went to Polar who quickly without questions swapped the watch to a new one – connet to Flow and your settings are synced – training downtime close to none – if Polar plays along and gives you a new watch

  81. Rui Batista

    I’m having no problems now, but I did have an issue with dirty (salty contacts) affecting connectivity. Try gently washing your watch, taking care to dry the contacts after.

  82. Jorge

    Is it possible to set at Polar flow under ” sports profiles ” – > ” heart rate ” both views ( beats per minute and % of HR max ) ? Apparently, it is probably not possible or is there still a possibility?

  83. Gunnar9090

    I’ve been trying out a V800 (among other watches) for a few weeks now and really liking it, but not sure I can stick with it as I need it (or at least the V650) to have routing capabilities which I thought was supposed to be released by the end of June for the Flow app.

    Doesn’t look too promising since this is Polar USA’s response today:

    “Dear Valued Customer,

    Thank you for contacting Polar Customer Care. Unfortunately, we do not have a specific timeline as to when that feature will become available. I apologize for the inconvenience. Please feel free to contact us directly using the link below. We have representatives available via Livechat, E-mail and our toll free line Monday-Friday 8:45am-5:15pm EST. “

  84. Goostaff

    Can someone tell me how to upload (or set) training to V800? I was sure it is not possible but read few post earlier and apparently I was like child in the fog :).
    Is it really possible to have vibrations for each repeat or rest?

  85. Serguei Fomine

    I have noticed that V800 produces VERY large errors in the distance measurements in the mountains. I believe thsat this error is rather related to the software and not GPS. As an example, when climbing mount Pisco in Peru from the base camp (1200 m altitude gain) V800 marks only 1.48 km, while garmin GPS e-trex shows 7.1 km which is in line with google earth measurements Then, when I export V800 GPS track as gpx file and open in third-party software, the track lenght is 7.1 km, just as in e-trex. The error depends on the ratio of the altitude gain or loss to the total distance. Thus, for plain terrain V800 accuracy is very good, but this watch is useless for climbing. Does .anyone else has this issue?

  86. Sebastian

    Hi Ray,

    do you have any deeper information on upcoming Firmware Update Times? I am waiting for the “Internal/accelerometer detection of cadence/pace/speed” – Update. I know June just passed and the Open Water Update just arrived with a huge delay.
    The main question is: Should I expect the other announced updates to come with the same delay as the Open Water one? In that case I would go for the Bluetooth Footpod (maybe I can find a cheapear used one).

    Thanks – as well for all your great reviews, race reports and stuff!

    • JM

      Sebastian, wasn’t the Openwater update pretty much on schedule? From what I’ve read it was planned for Q2 2015, and it shipped early July.

    • Sebastian

      See “Polar Updates/Futures Timelines” above: originally it was planned for 2014:

      Feature: Swimming Metrics: Outdoor openwater swims (distance/strokes/map route/etc)
      Original Timeline: Later 2014
      Current Timeline/Notes: Planned End of March 2015

      Actual Release: 7/2015

    • Sebastian

      Just an Update for everyone interested (especially Dietmar who posted a comment on exact this combination last night, but I can’t find his comment to answer … hope he gets email notification 🙂 ):

      I decided to buy the Wahoo Tickr X as I did not want to wait on the update to come. I had the same problem as Dietmar described: HR works fine, The footpod symbol is shown as connected in the “Select Sport” screen (while waiting for the GPS to fix), but no cadence data is recorded.

      This morning I got the solution – it was quite simple: The Wahoo Tickr X has to be calibrated first using the Wahoo Fitness App on the Smartphone!

      So: Pair the Tickr X with the Phone, fire up the Wahoo Fitness App, Tap the “Sensors” button on the bottom left, select your Tickr X. The first button below the menu (Down at the bottom) says “Calibrate”. After choosing to calibrate for 2 min or 6 min and running for that time on the treadmill (I did it outside today, so i probably mis-calibrated it for my test) the Tickr X is set up. Disconnect it from the phone and start a rund on the V800 -> Data appears as well on the watch as in Polar Flow.

      The only thing i did not check yet is where distance/speed data come from now. I know there is a menu on the watch to set this for each profile (V800 -> Settings -> Sport Profiles -> -> Running Sensor -> Choose Sensor for Speed) … I just have to check the data.

      Hope this helps anyone around there!

      @ Ray: For the Compatibility-Table above:
      – Wahoo Tickr X works: HR, Cadence (“doubled” as described on Tickr Run but that’s ok for me), Stride Length (but did not verify the values)
      – Auto calibration / usage out of the box: does not work
      – Need more info on something specific? Let me know and I’ll try to verify!

      (One thing: I’m not sure if the Texts I mentioned above (Wahoo / V800 Software) are correct as my app/watch is configured to display that stuff in German so I translated it myself … but you should be able to get along 😉 )

    • Dietmar

      Hi Sebastian,
      thanks a lot, I’ll definitely give it a try.

      Wahoo Support meanwhile has reported back that it seems to be a known issue that Polar V800 while being paired with Tickr X only captures heart rate data. They advise to contact Polar to check that footpod data will not be overridden by changing the data source for footpod.
      Fantastic, sounds a bit like the well known “its not us, please ask the other ones”…

      🙁
      But anyway, first I’ll try out what you think might solve the problem.

    • Dietmar

      Hi again,

      I’ve calibrated this TickrX thing as was suggested which turned out to be a mess cause several attempts of storing the result didn’t work.

      But finally it stored the calibration data. Disconnect from phone and pair again with V800… and… nothing. Neither did TickRX supply (any or valid) footpod data like cadence nor was my previously connected Polar BLE footpod delivering anything anymore.
      So there appears to be some incompatibility between V800 and TickrX, which is frustrating given the price tag fixed to both of them.

    • Sebastian

      That’s really bad…
      The only thing I can imagine (except one of the items – porbably the TICKR as V800+Polar Footpod work? – is defect): V800 struggles as it has the Footpod AND the TICKR X (which “simulates” a Footpod) connected and makes it struggle.
      As I don’t own a Polar Footpod maybe you could try removing it from the watch to just pair the V800 with the TICKR X.

      To see if the TICKR X has a problem itself you can sync it with the Wahoo Smartphone App. As it tracks and records data for itself you should see trainings with valid data in that software as well.
      By the way: I had to calibrate twice as well as it broke in the middle of the progress …

  87. JorgeP

    Hi, I would like to replace my Polar chest strap through a strap , which I can wear on my wrist . Which pulse bracelet can you recommend, which also provides good, reliable data in combination with the Polar V800 ? Scosche RHYTHM + ? Mio? Or another ? Thank You

  88. cw78

    Anyone had issues with moisture forming inside the V800 display when swimming in cold water?
    Just discovered a patch of moisture forming near the centre of the display glass and man was I disppointed…is this a common issue or am I just unlucky. And I just bought this unit 2 months ago…

    • Goostaff

      Had the same. Send it to Polar and they will change gasket.

    • Harri

      Hi, I have exactly same problem now on my already replaced V800. I got this new watch last Friday and couldn’t believe when I noticed moisture inside the V800 display just after 4 days usage including 2 training in indoor pool. I had same problem on previous V800, but it lasted 1 year before this moisture came in. Really frustrated because I have a half marathon on Sunday and just keeping my fingers crossed this crap works then.
      I will send it back next week, but I wont pay a penny for shipment. They need to solve this issue and increase the quality of this watch or otherwise I’m gonna ask my money back and buy Garmin. This should be high-end Triathlon watch..

  89. ycchiu

    I had the same problem after running in cold for two months. Good thing that Polar offers two years warranty. Filed a warranty claim and got a new replacement. The new unit has cover at the charging port =). Just hope it won’t happen this coming winter. Or worst and I will ask for another replacement.

    Speaking of which, just got H7 replaced too. Not sure it is a good or bad thing.

  90. Staffan Nilsson

    It would be nice to have the “future” table updated, including some updated info from Polar about what is still to come and when it is planned.
    I am considering getting a V800 after the Fenix 3 GPS accuracy disaster (seems to be better now but not good). The V800 seems to me like a proven solution that has the basics right but may still be lacking in features. Still no step frequency from the internal sensor? No notifications for Android?

  91. Liam

    If anyone’s looking to make the most of open water swimming mode availability for triathlon, please not thate the default seems to be GPS ‘Off’.

    No idea, what the logic for that was. Unfortunately, just found out post race 🙁

    • Gustav

      Oh man that sucks. Thanks for the heads up. Just went ahead and fixed that in my sports profiles on Polar Flow. I wonder if it will use the settings from the open water swim mode though?

    • Liam

      Gustav hi!

      I believe that it does.

      When I heard about the OW swim update, my immediate next thought was whether they would update the tri sports profile.

      Seems they did, just didn’t optimise the defaults!

  92. John

    Hi All, Anyone experiencing issues with reconnecting Bluetooth of the heart strap following a pause in recording and walking out of range? Eg going for a ride, pause recording to go for a coffee, then resume workout only to find it wont detect HR? eventually it goes into gymlink mode (H7 polar strap) which shows a faded/greyed out heart rate display field. When completing workout any following attempts to find the HR takes a long time. It takes many tries of disconnects to re-establish a bluetooh hr connection (even if telling watch to forget the connection). Apologies if this has already been asked. Cheers

    • Bernd

      The issue is well known and I described it before.

      When the watch is loosing the Bluetooth signal because you go to the coffee the watch starts looking for the signal. In the beginning every few seconds, after a while every few minutes and so on. after a certain longer time it stops looking for the signal.

      If you go back to the watch and it is still looking for the signal or you manually initiate searching for sensors the watch find the gymlink first and does not further look for the Bluetooth. I was hoping they solved the problem meanwhile. I was in contact with the support about this problem in the very beginning. I even sent the watch to them we did a kind of telephone conference because they was not been aware about this problem before.

      I solved the problem for me. I am using a H6 (Bluetooth only) HR sensor. And my V800 is finding the signal always. If the watch stopped looking for the signal you just have to continue training, press upper left button to get into the fast settings and start searching manually.

      I hope this help!

  93. Ales Susnik

    It’s a “known issue”. HR will be shown via gymlink, but won’t be able to reconnect via BT.
    Resetting the HR by taking out the battery solves the issue.

    Does not happen tho with V650 and H6.

    • John

      Thank you. Any “word on the street” for a planned fix to this issue?

    • Dirk

      No! If I pause the session (ie pressing bottom-left button) my V800 starts looking for the bluetooth signal again. Maybe you have to do this twice, but it always works.

  94. Arnout

    I have a Mio 505, Polar V800 with H7 strap and now a stages power meter.
    Any recommendations how to get the power output (and preferably also heartrate) to both Mio and Polar V800?

    Thanks!
    Arnout

  95. asele

    Hi rainmaker, nice review!. i just wanna ask which is better, garmin 920xt or polar v800?.
    Thanks

    • Florian

      Interesting answer. I thought that would be more of a “It depends…” kind of case, but then again, I have never used a 920XT. Just heard some complaints from friends relating to issues that I don’t see in my V800 (Not saying it doesn’t have issues of its own).

      Anyway, with OWS+HR and 3rd Party PowerMeter now finally working, I’m quite happy with the V800 right now.

  96. cw78

    My Polar Flow Sync suddenly could not sync with my Polar V800, I have followed Polar’s troubleshooting guide on their support page and managed to the connection on Hardware Device Manager.
    Not sure if the malfunction is due to some Java or Windows update that I have just applied.

    Will be glad if anyone can help…I have not synced since 26 Jul 2015 1800h. I am just afraid the logs will be full any moment.

    Thanks

  97. Dietmar

    Hi!

    I’ve paired my Wahoo Tickr X today with m V800 (at the end of the paying process it was asking bike 1 or bike 2???). Only thing I expected was that I get heart rate on my V800.
    Well, that worked. But unfortunately my V800 was not longer showing and recording the data of my Polar footpod. So finally no cadence!
    So besides working heart rate I obviously loose footpad data (though footpod is shown as connected in the pre-activity screen)… is that a known behavior?

  98. AECSUSN

    Has anyone else had issues with their Orthostatic test and Fitness test failing? Since the end of June I cannot get my Orthostatic Test to pass at all, and my Fitness test was failing but has since started working again, but reporting drastic drops. I have emailed Polar, but have not had a reply in over 3 weeks. For all running, biking, and other outdoor functions my H7 seems to be working flawlessly…Any ideas?

  99. Stephan

    I want to upgrade my m400 to a v800 just to measure hrv en recovery status. This because i seem to overtrain myself in combinatie with Crossfit.
    Is the v800 a voor choise die this?

    • Jen

      Depends on what you want. I have not yet accumulated the six “baseline” tests over two weeks that Polar says I need to collect, so I haven’t seen what, if any, recommendations the V800 might offer based on HRV with regard to recovery. If you want really high quality HRV info and recommendations, I would recommend going to http://www.bioforcehrv.com. Joel Jameson has done TONS of research into HRV and his coaching practice considers it heavily. On the other hand, Joel’s book, app(free), and a heart rate strap retail for $247, while I just bought a V800 with strap for $340 on Amazon. So, since the H7 strap goes for about $79, Joel’s book costs about $168.No, it’s not on Amazon. If you like science, know some biology and really enjoy digging into why things work, Bioforce might be a better product for you, but it doesn’t tell time or count your laps. If I notice anything interesting about the V800 after I’ve done more tests, I will let you know.

  100. ampestijn

    flowsync isn’t working on windows 10 for my v800, anyone else have that problem?

  101. joel

    End of june on Android smart notifications… It´s the middle of august now!

    • Reverend Benny

      They have posted a comment regarding this under “updates” on their webpage.
      Its on its way but they want to test it properly before they release it (according to the site).

      If they get it to work (which is prob what they aim for) as good as with iOS you are going to love this feature…

  102. Karl

    Hi,
    I know you have talked about here before, but I couldn’t find it right quick.
    My V800 started to get foggy from the inside. What would be the fastest way to get it fixed? How long will it take Polarto fix it?
    Do they send a new one or do they just repair it?
    Who do I need to contact?
    Thanks a lot.
    Cheers
    Karl

    • Harri

      I got a new one in a week. I got replacement last Friday and what is really frustrated is that again I have moisture inside.Need to send it back on Monday after sunday race.

  103. Zsolt

    Hi Guys,

    Anyone has any idea why my Polar V800 does not register the real speed from a Taxc Bushido smart trainer? Cadence and power is fine but it is showing incredibly low speed, like 4km/h instead of 30km/h. Wheel size was set correctly at the pairing process.

    Tacx app shows everything right so there is nothing wrong with the trainer. When I use the Polar V800 I turn everything else off, so should be no connection interferance between V800 and Tacx.

    Anyway the cadence is working fine so it should be a no brainer for the V800 to come up with the real speed.

    Any suggestion?

    • Grzeg1

      Response from Tacx support:
      You ask is we gonna fix this so you are able to read the right speed on your Polar watch.
      Our answer: not it is not possible to read the right speed and we do not gonna fix this.

    • But is it Tacx’s problem, or Polar’s? Meaning, I haven’t seen complaint using the BLE side with various other apps – so I wonder if it’s actually a Polar implementation issue (hardly the first on the BLE sensors for them).

      I haven’t poked into it, but just sorta thinking aloud…

    • Grzeg1

      I’m not sure, but I guess if Polar was at fault, Tacx would have told me that Polar needed to fix it?

    • I think you’re probably up against some linguistics aspects there of people attempting to say “It’s by design and correct per the spec, and we don’t plan to change it” versus “It’s broken and we don’t plan to change it.”

  104. Juan

    Hi,
    Is IT possible wear the WAHOO TICKR X just for cadence? I want to take the pace and distance from GPS and cadence from TICKR X.

    • Sebastian

      You can select for each sports profile how to use the TICKR X. For example, I am using Cadence Only when running outdoors (Speed/Distance via GPS), while using Cadence + Speed/Distance when running on a treadmill.
      Speed/Distance is not that valid though, I lose about 500m on a 10k run. On the other hand that’s not really important to me, as it is displayed on the machine and i can correct the data afterwards.

      The only thing I could not figure out yet is how to get cadence info while cycling. Maybe there is a seperate cycling calibration needed – I’ll check that next time I’m on a bike 🙂

    • Juan

      Thanks a lot. That´s perfect. I will recieve this week (blue edition), I have a Fenix 3, but for me is very bulky and uncomfortable to run. I´ll see what one is better.

      Thanks again.

    • Reverend Benny

      I’m using the ticker X when running and the H7 when swimming (main reason is that I find the Ticker X more comfy). It works great.
      The Ticker X is lighter than the h7 as well.

    • Gustav

      I have been completely unable to get my V800 to read any speed/cadence from my Tickr X while on a threadmill. How did you manage to do it?

    • Reverend Benny

      Sorry, my bad. Checked my HR strap I have and it isn’t the X model, its the one below that one. I don’t have vibration or memory on mine. Think the best bet here is to mail Polar about it, seems like the wahoo HR monitors are fairly popular and they should really have support for it.

  105. Reverend Benny

    I’m using the ticker X when running and the H7 when swimming (main reason is that I find the Ticker X more comfy). It works great.
    The Ticker X is lighter than the h7 as well.

  106. Ricardo Martins

    I read at polar web site that you shouldnt press buttons underwater or while the unit is wet.
    So how you operate the watch while you swim lol??

  107. hrishi

    Ray, you seemed to mention in the Ambit3 review that with a firmware update, now you CAN see actual number of steps (rather than just the activity bar) on V800. Can you please confirm this?

    Thanks!

    • KilkennY

      Hi Hrishi.
      Push the down-button twice and then the red button. Then it will show: number of steps, calories burned and activity time.

  108. KilkennY

    And if you push the down-button once more, then it shows how much activity you need to reach your daily goal. Like walk, run, jog.
    Flow wil show you more options like: tennis, dart, dish washing, vacuuming etc. :-).

  109. Jen

    Thank you for the excellent reviews!

    Just got my V800 yesterday. If I adjust it closely enough so it doesn’t flop around on my wrist, the buckle really hurts. 🙁 I mostly crossfit and swim (pool an open water), and really want sleep monitoring, and a plainly-styled, preferably black watch. Polar has so many activity monitors I really thought the V800 would have to have sleep monitoring, but I can’t find it. Is it really missing? I don’t need 95% of the features on most watches, but I can’t find one watch that does have the few features I do want.

  110. Jon

    @Jen: The V800 monitors your sleep automatically. No mode to active, or buttons to push. It will figure out you’re sleeping based on a) being on your wrist; and b) your reduced movements. It works surprising well.

    • Jen

      Jon –

      Thank you for replying, but the Polar’s sleep monitoring is ABYSMAL, and it offers effectively no analysis (despite the user manual telling us to use the sleep monitoring to see how sleep effects recovery- a thing the software doesn’t do.)

      Yes, it is very nice that you don’t have to tell it when you’re going to bed or when you wake up, but that’s not an uncommon feature. I’ve worn four other devices that purport to monitor sleep, and of course with different algorithms they all give slightly different information, but the V800 grossly overestimates deep sleep, and offers no analysis other than an efficiency% from deep/total*100. I’m confident even this is wrong.

      I’ve been wearing my fitbit charge on the same wrist as the V800, and gotten very different efficiency% data. Fitbit (calculated): 65.7, 58.6, 59.0, 72.6, 72.3; vs Polar: 84, 84, 84, 85, 86. The Polar donut graph will only show changes in your sleep if you get up and walk around in the night; there is no display of how deep sleep or restlessness are partitioned, and there’s no way that I can find to stack it over time. I’m not assuming Fitbit Charge is the be-all of accuracy but other devices I’ve worn (Misfit Shine, Withings Pulse, Fitbit Flex) all seem to come up with the same general story about a night’s sleep, especially if you examine trends and not single nights. They also all show how your sleep partitioned, and Withings and Fitbit can stack it over time for pretty sweet trending. Withings even does it for free. (Unfortunately I found their device to be essentially unwearable.)

      Perhaps if I made a sport profile for sleep it would collect more detailed data, but then I would have to start and stop it. Meh. I’m only beginning to play with exporting data. I haven’t yet found a way to export activity data, only the records from a training session. I might do one night as a “workout” just to see what I get.

      Another frustrating thing is trying to share a training session. Have you watched the dorky automaic videos of sessions? The music pains me. I’m pretty sure you have to “relive” one of your training events and then copy the link from your browser in order to share it, and then the recipient can’t DO anything with the info, just watch the vid. If they want to dig and get any analysis, they have to create a Polar Flow account. (Yes I made my workout public.) Garmin has a much nicer way to share that provides a link with the route and all attached analysis.

      Anyway, you are totally correct- the V800 will track your sleep. But it’s almost certainly inaccurate to the point of meaninglessness. I just want one watch to rule them all. I only really care about four things, but apparently the market is more interested in a very different set of features.

    • Jen

      Derp – also, I did reply to my own comment after I posted it, when I found sleep info, but that reply doesn’t seem to have stuck. Sorry about that.

  111. G37-R34DY

    Thanks for the great review. Questions about the Polar stride sensor:

    1- Can I set it up so that in one profile I can track only cadence, while taking all other measurements (pace/distance) from the GPS?
    2- Does it work also as cadence on a bike? I would use it during Spinning classes.

    Thanks

  112. Ricardo Martins

    if you have the Polar stride sensor and GPS, where the pace/distance comes from? How about cadence/speed sensors on the bike and GPS.

  113. Alfio

    Hy guys…some problems
    Do You confirm we cannot have more than just 5 speed zoone to build an interval work?
    So If I’ve a progressive run of 21 km I cannot built a custom work increasing speed each 3km interval? I’d need 7 speed interval..isn’tit?
    Thanks.

  114. Carael

    Hi Guys!

    I have a problem with V800 and Viiiiva. When I pair the watch (firmware 1.5.1) with Viiiiva and start the run, the distance is not calculated. It always stays on 0.00. Also the watch see that I have the foot pod – even before I’ve configured Viiiiva to rebroadcast the ANT+ Garmin footpod (the problem occurs both with rebrodcasted footpod and without). Anybody else had this issue? Any known fix?

    Thanks!

  115. Jon

    @Carael: My guess is that the Viiiiva is broadcasting a placeholder for the footpod even without one actually present. You wouldn’t think this was a problem, but for reasons unknown Polar has made the V800 *exclusively* use a footpod device for distance if it sees footpod inforation. I suspect if you set-up the Viiiiva to send the footpod info to the polar, you’ll see things working again. Sort of. It will ignore the GPS at that point accept for mapping purposes.

    (Just don’t walk. On a recent trail run there were several very steep sections that I had to walk. The Polar completely omitted these sections as “dead time” because the Wahoo chest strap I use wasn’t detecting any cadence. Exclusively using footpod data is a terrible design decision.)

    • Carael

      Hi,

      thanks for the answer. Sadly even if I paired my garmin footpod with Viiiiva the distance was still 0.00. Which is strange because the isntant, average and lap pace was correct. Also there is no way to calibrate the foot pod – like with Polar Stride Sensor or Adidas speed_cell (only in quick menu after starting the run). Any ideas?

      Thanks

  116. Ricardo

    I would like to share this video I found.
    How to create routes in a map and upload it to you polar v800 and then navigate to it.

    Polar flow only allows to use a route you have run or someones else route.

    I have tried this today and it works perfectly link to youtube.com

  117. Ricardo Martins

    I have a v800, should I buy the polar speed and cadence sensors or the wahoo blue sc?

    • Tomas Escalada

      Hy I have the wahoo blue sc in one bike and polar sensor in an other because the wahoo sensor wont fit (its a full suspension mountain bike with weird stays) All this said they both work very well, in the wahoo sensor you can change battery in polar no.

    • Ricardo Martins

      Thanks, for the wahoo sensor, do you calibrate it on the polra v800 or the mobile wahoo app?

  118. Mike

    Occasionally I have periods in my life where I don’t use my Polar V800 for a month or even two. What is the best way to preserve the built in battery in the long run? Let it run out of charge and let is sit empty? Or do you have other suggestions? Sadly the watch can not be turned completely off. Thx

  119. Martin Birk

    Hi Ray. Thanks for this comprehensive review.

    Do you have an opinion in this large and up-to-date test of GPS accuracy, where V800 is by far the best? (I fin it interesting that all the most accurate watches us the SiRFstar GPS chip).

    The Fenix 2 and 920XT are way down the list accuracy-wise.

    link to fellrnr.com

    • While I think Fellrnr does interesting work, I don’t find it very useful in showing how 99% of the world actually runs. His tests essentially repeat the same (mostly trail) segment over and over again. This segment is super-short, and thus I don’t think it does a good job conveying how people with different terrain (city, open areas, etc…) do. Further, he doesn’t provide the actual GPS tracks, so you really can’t see how far off (or not), the tracks actually are.

      It’s one of the core reason all of my recent reviews now include the actual GPS tracks so people can compare track by track and decide for themselves. Further, I run in a wide variety of conditions, allowing folks to figure out which unit aligns more closely to their needs.

  120. Jei

    Hi! Anyone, when you use V800 & kickr, which device are you using to control kickr?

    Thx!

  121. Carael

    Hi, small question. I want to configure the duration training target, so the watch will monitor my average pace not the current pace in the selected target. Now it’s like every time I’m a little bit to slow or too fast it starts to vibrate. I would rather want that the average pace from the selected target would be taken into account. I’ve been looking in the instruction but doesn’t find anything. Thanks in advance!

  122. Brent Moore

    Is there a way for the V800 to record moving time & total elapsed time?

    The V800 will auto-pause an activity, but it will not show the time I spent at a cafe. After uploading my activity to Strava, it looks like I rode to the cafe and then took off before my friends finished lunch. When in reality we were all there for the same length of time…

    Thanks

  123. Jen

    Is there a way to delete erroneous heart rate values from a trace? The sensor apparently processed some kind of blip as a heart rate of 216 bpm, which I’m confident I did not actually achieve while foam rolling. However I want to keep the rest of the session. That one goofy value screws up the metrics. Thanks!!

  124. Jim

    Is there a way to show both Speed AND Pace while running? As far as I can tell you have to select either mph or min/mi to display in your sport profiles. Sometimes I like to see both. I know most people probably use pace when running, but when I’m on a treadmill for example I am used to seeing both mph and min/mi. Pretty disappointed that this isn’t an option with my V800…that I can tell at least.

    Any suggestions? Thank you.

  125. Yawdamper

    Second warranty repair on my V800 in just over a year. “Battery swollen”. Hopefully, Polar will recognize this as a manufacturing defect and keep fixing it even after warranty has expired…
    After sale service has been excellent, but I’d rather not need it!

  126. BGeff

    Today I received my 3rd V800 since January. The first one lasted until the end of Aug, and once it was sent in, the report back was that the backcase swollen and the charging bracelet pins were corroded. They shipped me a new one in about 15 days. Within three days, this replacement had issues with its lower right hand button for scrolling through the menu. It would mostly not work, and when it did, it would cycle through the menu on its own. It would also not pair up with the Polar Flow app on my Galaxy S5. Sent back in and it was determined that Embedded software jammed, and there was Firmware update failure. Polar sent me a 3rd one which arrived today. All the updates and synching happened just fine. However, it still won’t pair up and synch with my Android device. I have gone through all the troubleshooting of un pairing and re pairing and restarting and rebooting and reloading/downloading with no success. This is beyond frustrating now. Any hints before I send this back for good and tell Polar to stick it way up somewhere? I really like the V800, but this has gotten beyond out of the realm of good product.

    • Ricardo

      It’d buggy but for it to sync, make sure you sync first via cable with the computer and says completed. After that try to sync with the phone. The polar phone app most be open and set the phone to be always awake during the sync process basically the light can’t go off and font touch the phone during the process

  127. Rick

    On my first replacement watch after the weird fogging issue. I guess you can say condensation. Polar repair service stated it had corrosion. The seam of the watch did look like it was expanding after seeing the photo in the above comments. They replaced the watch with newer hardware too. I was expecting a brand new boxed watch but received a new watch with a completely new serial number and new charging cable with a cutout for the improved charging cover.

  128. Rick

    New firmware update this morning when syncing. Its version 1.6.2. I don’t see any additional info on Polar’s website in regards to the changes or updates.

  129. Info about 1.6.2. is up:
    Also other nice improvements are included in this V800 software update which of course is available for all V800 users. For instance, if there is a need to pause your training, in addition to the already shown heart rate and duration, you can now also see your travelled distance and burned calories on the paused screen. We also did a nice nip and tuck and made it possible to turn off the back light if wanted.

    Are you using the phased target feature? Well, you’ll be thrilled to hear that we’ve added also a vibration alarm after each phase to better indicate that the phase is soon to be ending.

    Also a few sync related bugs have been fixed in this release. The slow sync to the iOS Flow app has been speeded up and a few pairing and sync problems to the Android OS have also been solved. For detailed descriptions about the bug fixes and smaller improvements can be found from the V800 Release Notes.

  130. Rick

    link to polar.com

    Smart Notifications added for Android users (Android version 5.0 or later).
    New sport profiles (e.g. Dancing, Downhill skiing categories) added.
    Pause mode, distance and calorie info added to training summary.
    Backlight deactivation from light button added.
    Bluetooth support for 3rd party optical external HR sensor added.
    Route starting point in equator, fixed.
    Other bug fixes and quality improvements.

  131. Jorge

    Smart Notifications on Android doesn´t work:
    I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 with Android 5.0 and have set everything according to plan. The V800 is also coupled, but there are no notifications displayed on my V800 … I’ve already tried to reinstall the flow app and did a softreset on the V800. But it doesn´t work. Does anyone know what the problem is? Thanks

    • Just tried it out… worked for me, on a Nexus 5. But given Polar’s history, I wouldn’t be surprised if it stops working in a few minutes.

      Some things to check… have you:
      1. upgraded your watch firmware to 1.6.2 (via the desktop FlowSync app)
      2. upgraded Flow to 2.4.1
      3. sync’d your watch to your phone
      4. gone into the settings -> notifications menu and enabled “Smart Notification” (it won’t be there until steps 1 ~ 3 are done).
      5. this should have taken you to Android’s “Notification access” menu; enable “Polar Flow” there. If it didn’t take you there automatically, try Android’s Settings -> Notification access (might be different on a Samsung device).
      6. Back in the Flow app’s Smart Notifications settings, make sure “do not disturb” is either not on, or not set to a time that covers right now 😉
      7. re-sync your watch.
      8. test. To test, I added a Google Inbox reminder for 1 minute from now, which worked (surprisingly), but presumably there’s lots of other things you could do to test, like send yourself an SMS or call yourself (from another device, of course), though no doubt you’ve already tried something like that.

      Good luck. Getting anything working with Polar Flow can be a PITA 😐

      pc.

    • Jorge

      Hi PauI, have done everything the same way. Even several times , but unfortunately it does not work… 🙁

    • joel

      Had the same problem but a reboot of my phone fixed it(compact z3)

  132. Jay

    is the display significantly easier to read than the Garmin 920? And is the beep louder than the Garmin 225?

    Thanks!

    Jay

  133. blackp

    Hi Ray,

    I have some doubts on the correct selection of the sport profiles present in webflow for V800, can you help me?

    Apparently the following are very similar to each other but because they should be pre-setup specifically by Polar (calculating consumption,calories,recovery), i would choose the right one !

    1 – Skiing vs Alpin Skiing (?) – From the image of the logo, Skiing ” traditional ” seems Alpin Ski.

    2 – Running vs Road Running (?)
    3 – Cycling vs Road Cycling (?)

    Thank you!

  134. Yesterday Polar announced that there will be no Strava integration for at least another 2 months, and training plans will not be done this year either. Still no support for creating/uploading your own routes for navigation. New bugs appeared that cause mobile syncing and smart notifications to fail (though nobody reported losing data as it was happening a few months ago).

    • Kenni Lund

      Hi Grzeg1
      – No need for Strava integration as long as we have RUNGAP :o).
      – Uploading own routes and activity’s works fine with Syncmytracks.
      – Absolutely no problems with syncing or notifications. :o)
      – Never (In 18 months) have I lost data.

      All i want is internal Cadence and more accurate altimeter. :o)

      Kind regards
      Kenni

    • Hi Kenni
      – No need for internal cadence as long as you can buy footpod 😉
      – altimeter is accurate enough for me
      – good for you never to have lost data

  135. Asle Vatn

    I have had v800 for more than a year, and still I have not had one exercise with stable pace or stable HR recording. The pace is ok. I do not really care too much as I know more or less by intuition my pace, but having a HR recording that can not be trusted is pretty frustrating. It drops 10-15 beats, lasting 20-40 seconds before normal recording. They have sent me a new watch, new HR sensor and I have bought a new waist band. Nothing helps. The picture shows how a typical interval session looks like. When training outdoors it is even more unstable. Anyone have a suggestion?

    • You can have a heart issue like ectopic beats (hopefully not). The waistband needs to be really wet to work well, you can even try ecg gel if you don’t sweat much. Some H7s had issues so there’s also slight chance you got a bad one as a replacement.

  136. Kale

    Hi Ray!

    I am very close to purchasing either the V800 or the 920xt…..Will all the updates that have come out, do you still beleive the V800 is as inferior as it was when you first did your in-depth review? I have an M400 now, but just signed up for my first Ironman, and would like the more capable watch. I love that the 920 will count laps in the pool, to my understanding, V800 does not……

    So could you give a quick updated opinion of the whether you still feel the same way about the V800 (also in regards to comparing the 920xt) as you did back in June 2014?

    Thanks!

    • One has to remember that the V800 was woefully behind on the features compared to the FR920XT when the 920XT came out (or heck, even compared to the FR910XT).

      Even for the new features that Polar has released for the V800, it’s still but a fraction of what the FR920XT has. I just don’t see any reason why someone would opt for the V800 over the FR920XT, and the number of people that do so are incredibly rare.

    • Kale

      Exactly the type of feedback I was looking for, thank you for the prompt response.

    • Jen

      The V800 does indeed count pool laps for you (now) and the analytics are pretty nice. I find it’s quite good at stroke recognition, UNLESS you do an open turn in freestyle- it will call that butterfly. If you consistently do flip turns in freestyle, it recognizes strokes very accurately, and calculates SWOLF scores for everything, and can even figure out that you did an IM. If you stop in the middle of the pool it might give you an extra lap.

    • Mike

      Sometimes looks and quality also matter. To me the Garmin is just ugly, however, looks are subjective

  137. karl

    Hi Ray,
    once we are in this discussion. I own a V800 and I am pretty happy with it.
    But from time to time I am thinking of switching over to garmin. Would you recomend the FR920XT or the Fenix3?
    I know both are pretty much the same. I just like the look of the Fenix3 much better.
    Is it realy worth to change from V800 to Garmin once you got a Polar? How about Garmin connect? Do you think it’s better than Polar flow? I think Polar flow lacks a lot of analysis options…
    Thanks a lot.
    Karl

  138. edgaangelone

    Polar: I am very amazed, disappointed, and having a difficult time believing this. You were going to release something “very important” on November 4th, 2015, and you release a POLAR LOOP CRYSTAL??????? This is a lack of understanding, a little sense on business, and a poor way of treating your customers. I have a Polar V650 that cannot connect with Apple computer any longer, a V650 that has no training load, a V450 that does not connect to 3rd party power meters, a V650 and V450 that does not connect to Strava, a V800 that cannot get running programs, a V800 that has to connect to running POD in order to work, etc. etc. etc. and you release a fashion product???? I have been a loyal customer, but enough is enough. I am switching to another brand, no matter how bad GPS is or lack of vibration. Polar, clearly you have done this to yourself.

  139. Tiago Almeida

    Hello DCRAINMAKER , i have a question , the gps accuracy in polar v800 it’s better than garmin 920xt right? Can you show two equal workouts using both watches. Thanks a lot

    • I’d say they’re the same. I don’t see any tangible difference, nor have I see any substantial differences in other peoples tracks either.

      As for examples, I think I may have a few in my FR920XT review that includes the V800.

  140. Julien

    Hi!

    Does the I GOT U Pod 30 works with the V800? It’s a rather cheap pod in comparisson with the rest of the market.

    Thx for the answer.

    • I don’t know. I vaguely remember it being on the non-compatible list. But that was some time ago. I know from many past I GOT U products, that they don’t do a good job of following standards and cause lots of apps/devices problems.

    • iker

      I don’t know how updated this is, but according to link to fellrnr.com

      “some third party Bluetooth Footpods, like the “i-gotU” will pair with the V800, but then won’t display cadence and will prevent the V800 from recording any distance travelled”

    • Julien

      Thx for your answer… cheap for a good reason unfortunalty! 😉

  141. Simon

    I’m very pleased with my Polar v800.

    Over had mine since Spring and very pleased with it. I use it for open water swimming, pool swimming, running, cycling and gym work.

    Features that really stand out for me are the ‘tap’ and retrace (back to start/waypoint). The tap is such a simple feature that I have set up to do a lap, – no fiddling with buttons, just tap and move on with a lap summary shown. The back to start/waypoint is so useful when out hiking or in the forest on foot or bike. You can create waypoints on the move and then get back to them. That’s got me out of potential issues twice.

    The GPS lock is very quick.

    The open water swimming is quite good at tracing the route. This does depend upon your swimming style. If you are a breastroker – you don’t stand a chance with anything anyway of the unit is always submerged.
    But the great thing about ALL the swimming modes is live and recorded heart rate. No store and forward fiddles here. And if you don’t like the chest strap you can use something like a Mio Link worn next to the watch. (do it up tight though).

    Power and zone lock on the bike works fine.
    Running – fine including pace lock or heart rate zone lock.

    Another great feature – you can set up different heart rate zones for the different sports (which is actually quite important) – who ever reaches their max running HR whilst swimming ??

    TCX file, export from Flow works fine – to import into something else.

    The display is very clear in all light conditions – no wash out in bright sunlight.

    The other great thing is that its compact and smart enough to wear every day so its just always there – no hunting about for where did I leave my running watch when its time to train.

    ————-
    Ive not used the notifications from iOS or Android so can’t comment upon those. (my phone doesn’t go swimming and is too bulky to take running anyway).
    Ive noted that some people have issues with the sync using IoS or Android phones. This seems to depend upon the Android phone in use. Some of it is user error – like letting the phone go to sleep (power saving) before the sync has finished. I use the cable anyway – no probs.

    PS the table at the top could do with a refresh – open water swim metrics has been out for a while now.

    • Hank

      Hi Simon,

      Quick question for Mio Link with V800 – Can you also use Bluetooth HRM (next to V800) for pool swimming mode too? Just wondering if Polar has activated to use Bluetooth HRM for indoor swimming mode. I know outdoor swimming mode allows to use Bluetooth HRM but not sure for indoor swimming mode.

      Thanks,

    • simon

      Hi Hank,
      Yes I use the Mio Link next to the v800 for pool swimming. There was an update last Autumn that allowed third party BT sensors to be used in the swimming profiles.
      The H7 will still use gymlink.
      The Mio works quite well as long as you do it up firmly at a good place on the arm so that the movement of the water around it doesn’t disturb the position. I use it for both open water and pool swim.

      Nice to get a real-time HR reading whilst swimming – and you can even set up limits to swim in a certain zone if you wish – as long as you can hear the beeps.

  142. pep

    Hi, i see the new v800 were built with a plastic cap covering the charge connector, but this cover was removed from the M400 because it didn’t get dried well, so what do you think is best option, covered or not?

    • Grzeg1

      You definitely want to get the one with cover. The ones without cover are from the first batch that tends to swell and leak. Whether you should remove the cover I don’t know.

  143. Craig Ruaux

    Does anybody have any pointers on how to get V800 to use the analog heart rate signal for any sports profile other than swimming?

    My problem is that I am trying to use both a V650 and a V800 simultaneously while riding. If the V650 data gave recovery information to Flow it would not be a problem, but that’s a rant for another day…

    I know that, in theory, both the V800 and the V650 make the HR data visible to other devices, but I can not make that work. I have switched on the option to share data with the V650 on the computer itself, the V800 on the watch itself and in the relevant sports profiles on the Polar flow page, but to no avail.

    If I pair the V650 to the HR strap and let it get data, then start the V800 in swimming mode, the V800 picks up HR data within seconds, evidently from the analog signal. But, if I let the V800 pair to the HR strap, the V650 can not pair via Bluetooth (as expected, but kind of contrary to the whole “share HR” setting), and if I drop the V800’s connection to the HR strap, the V650 can get it straight away.

    I’d really like to get HR on the V650 and the V800 simultaneously, as the V650 is much better for checking what my HR is doing than the V800 when riding, but I want the recovery metrics that I get from the V800 and not the V650.

    I actually have two H7 sensors, and I suppose I could pair one to each device and wear them both while riding, but that seems… inelegant.

    • Jen

      I bet if you turn off heart rate monitoring in your v800 sport profile for swimming, it will work.

    • Liam

      Craig hi!

      If you unpair your BT connection to your v800, then I think you should be good.

      Then BT pair your H7 belt to the V650.

      The V650 should then take your BT signal and the V800 the 5MHz signal. Note the 5MHz signal will not appear on standby for cycling, like it does on pool swimming, but should appear once you start the workout.

      I run a similar setup with my V800 and mobile phone for cycling. BT connection to phone and 5MHz to my V800.

    • iker

      No problem at all, just make sure that you pair H7 and V650 first. Once the v650 picks the bluetooth signal, get your V800 into cycling or any other sport mode – it just picks the other signal although sometimes the actual hear trate data won’t show until you start the activity – on standby all you’ll see is “—“

    • Craig Ruaux

      Ah, I see. I was confused by the way that the V800 immediately shows HR using the analog signal in pre-activity Swimming mode (I know that is working that way as I have done it several times with no BT pairing to the V800), but it never showed anything other than the — symbol in the pre-activity Riding mode. I’ll give it a try this evening.

      Thank you both for the clarification.

  144. Nic

    Hi everyone,

    Quick question: just got the v800 after giving up on my Fenix 3 (very disappointing in the GPS accuracy department)- is Polar finally utilizing the internal accelerometer for treadmill running?

    The Polar footpod is something that I would certainly prefer not to own- it is, after all, a little scary to look at!

  145. Alan

    How come Garmin is constantly updating and revising their units, and Polar appears to have a very slow or no updates or revised versions of units like this, or the M400, etc. I think the Polar Loop 2 is one of the few recent updates. This is a very dynamic tech market. Polar is slower than I would expect these days.

    • simon

      Really ?
      The v800 has been updated 5 times this year and the new A360 with built in HR has just been released.
      All the updates are on here: link to updates.polar.com

      “”How come Garmin is constantly updating and revising their units, and Polar appears to have a very slow or no updates or revised versions of units like this, or the M400, etc. I think the Polar Loop 2 is one of the few recent updates. This is a very dynamic tech market. Polar is slower than I would expect these days””

    • Arnout

      Personally I like the fact that the updates from Polar just work and my experience with Garmin was that they were quite buggy on average. Maybe that has improved by now.
      But again this is my personal view.
      On the other hand Polar seems indeed a bit slow. They might need some work to streamline their development processes.
      For now I give them a chance because with the good support and aftercare on my V800 and the functionality I need does work well and their are a couple of more useful additions coming (Strava sync & running pace without a footpod – useful for all those inside winter trainings) will make me a happy camper.

    • Alan

      I was referring to hardware updates. Newer devices seem to improve on battery life,have improved graphics,and tend to have more features in smaller lighter units. There is trickle down of features to less costly units and less expensive basic devices.

    • Harrison

      “Planned Obsolescence” is used to boast sales and encourage consumers to buy the newer devices. The constantly activity of updating could very well just be minor.

  146. john

    I recently picked up an M450 for cycling and now looking to upgrade my running watch. I’m coming from an Ambit2 and wanting sync capabilities via my phone, I’m also interested in the activity tracking aspects of the more recent running watches (Ambit3, Garmin 920/630, V800). I’m liking the user experience of Flow over Movescount so considering the jump to put everything on the same platform, plus it would be nicer to have a single location for all activities. While thinking about how this will all work, will training load, etc. from cycling efforts be synced to the V800 via Flow? Meaning, if I run with the V800 Monday, and bike with the M450 Tuesday, will I see Tuesday’s ride (and training load) on the V800? I used the Ambit 2 as my ‘do it all’ product for a number of years, but I’m wanting the form factor of a cycling head unit. I don’t want to keep a watch on my wrist just keep training load integrated. A watch on the wrist hurts on mtb and I found the watch screen hard to see strapped to the handlebar, road and mtb.

    Also, any word on Polar planning to add upload capability to Flow for tcx/fit/etc formats?

    Thanks and happy holidays!
    john

    • Grzeg1

      Users on forum.polar.fi say it does not update.
      I’d be cautious with Polar, as they clearly seem to move aggresively away from competitive athletes and towards activity tracking/social groups/weight loss.
      I’m a V800 owner looking for alternatives. For 1.5 years have not been able to find a working footpod and recently going through a hell of making it cooperate with a trainer. Syncing via phone just started to work for me weeks ago (although some people report it’s still broken for them).
      Upload tcx to Polar you can forget, unless you use some 3rd party hack. No training load for these activities though. People have been nagging Polar about adding these for over a year now. No positive responses so far so I would not expect it any soon.

  147. Liam

    Has anyone experienced any unreliable altimeter readings on their V800. Mine has been very reliable, but in last week reporting somewhat crazy readings:
    link to flow.polar.com

    Anyone who knows Singapore, will know we don’t get that sort of altitude around here! We wish we did!

    • Liam

      Turns out a soft reset and factor reset did not fix the issue.

      Service centre has just replaced the casing and strap and I believe the internal unit. Only the buttons and glass look to remain from original watch.

      I understand it’s not possible to isolate the altimeter sensor any more, which used to be case I believe on the older Polar units.

      Fingers crossed this does the trick

  148. Mark P

    cadence from wrist is released – finally!! 🙂

    • lc

      My joy of finally having cadence was short lived as during the firmware upgrade it failed. My watch is now displaying “something went wrong. Press OK to reset V800”. I tried to sync, factory reset, soft reset, etc. Everything fails as it seems to display this message approx every 90 seconds. At this point nothing works until you press the red button. Out of ideas. Polar says to send it back but that means 2 weeks without my watch. HELP please!!! Seriously considering Garmin 🙁

    • Oleg Suprun

      I have the same issue! My v800 stoped working after yesterday update! and im not alone , a lot of people complain on polar’s facebook page ! The watch will not respond to anything ! My watch will reboot every 30 seconds . I am so disapointed!

    • Sebastian

      Did Polar remove the update? Just wanted to check and it isn’t available for me right now. (Maybe that’s good as I read along 😉 )

    • Yes, update was removed.

  149. Pep

    Hi, i´m dissapointed with the GPS accuracy of V800. I was with the M400 almost a year and no problems at all, really good accuracy, now in 1 week with the V800 i have this bad tracks, however the distance, speed…etc are ok. POLAR told me to do a Factory reset….will try, any clues there? i always wait some more secs after the OK, face the watch looking upwards…etc

    • Hane

      I had also M400 first and now I have had for six months V800. M400 finds GPS sync much faster than V800. After the GPS sync has been reached V800 is not very accurate for the first minute or two. BUT after that V800 is very accurate, much better that M400. V800 is also more accurate than Garmin fenix 3.

      So with V800 you should wait for a minutes or two after the GPS sync before you start your training.

    • Jaime

      I agree with Hane
      V800 is considerably more accurate than M400, by all published tests. It is actually the most accurate of all watches as of today. My former Fenix 3 was a catastrophy in that respect. The V800 instantaneous speed is even (partly) usable.

    • ChrisTexan

      Response to GPS lock, and then an update…
      Regarding initial GPS lock, I’ve basically learned (based on calibration routines of other unrelated products), once you get the initial lock, walk in a figure-8 a couple of times maybe 20-30 feet end-to-end, enough that it swings through several changes and positional updates. One time I started the moment it hit 100%,(OK), and ran down my street, and in reviewing the track later, it showed me starting a street over from mine, and then within 2 houses (about 150ft) it snapped into razor-sharp tracking alignment. Basically the initial lock is “ok, I’ve got at least (x) amount of accuracy to begin” but might be 30 meters off (the long-accepted minimum standard of “non-mil-spec GPS accuracy”) Once it has a bit more data from more satellites, cell, whatever sources it finds, and interpolation of a few data points, it nails it down perfectly, so spending 20-30 seconds in a figure 8 or large circle will nail it down, then start your activity (you should be warming up anyhow so it’s just a moving warm-up basically).

      On another note, in the past I’ve posted several, favorable updates. This one isn’t, I’ve now experienced the “bulge of death”, to an extreme I’ve not seen posted before. My watch battery case is actually bulged across the entire back about 1-2mm above flat, it has also cracked the black plastic casing both above and below the battery casing, and the front (rubber, it turns out) wrapping material next to the screen has a huge loose bubble in it. Still in warranty, I’m wearing it Saturday for a 1/2 marathon, then immediately packing and returning to Polar, but this was a first-run, (non-covered charging point) version, so I suppose it was only a matter of time. It’s still working flawlessly so far, although charging is another story now, it all happened quickly from first “huh, it’s not charging right” about 2 weeks ago to “oh my, it’s self-destructing” which I really just noticed about 2 days ago. Hoping it makes it another 26 hours, then I can be without for a few days. Has anyone had a “2nd gen” model with problems, or did they seem to have fixed it on the replacements?

    • Glenn

      ChrisTexan,

      I had this, and perhaps a series of related issues, with a first generation black and silver v800. The first issue was moisture getting in and behind the glass face of the device. The one of the right-side buttons started to feel loose and require stronger-than-usual pushing. Then the altimeter started to lose its accuracy. Then the “bulge” you described. A few months before, the charging system was giving me trouble. I thought it was the constant corrosion build-up due mainly to the lack of a rubber flap, but it also turned out the charger pins were losing their spring. I had to use a small vise-grip to push the pins into the charger to get a charge, but in the end it just would work and I was dead in the water. I sent it back to Polar repair, and in 3 days time with no questions asked, they sent me the newer model v800 (all black and with the charging port flap). I’ve had it for a little under 2 months and so far it’s been pretty flawless disregarding a few minor setup/sync issues.

    • ChrisTexan

      Well, another update, I’ve been less-than-quick getting my watch back (and forth) to Polar… so when I finally sent it in after the previous seriously bad bulging, they returned it to me, looked “good as new” but wasn’t (because I have a distinct metal colored scuff in the glass that was still there upon the return)… so band, back, and charging port changed, plus whatever else they do on those….
      Long disappointing story short, excitedly plugged into computer, went through the registration, let it charge, and then took off charger, pressed “Start” to get to the menus, nothing… the Start button won’t work. I received it back 2016/12/05, in time for a 2016/12/11 marathon I was planning to run… but since it was dead, no good. Have sent it back again, will update upon next return, hopefully a “good” update next time, but I was pretty shocked they returned it without actually testing something as basic as “do all the buttons work” (The others seemed to, the “Light” button worked).
      Keep in mind, this is around my 5th or 6th Polar product, and in 15 years or so of products, the first I’ve had trouble with, but I’m seeing the same as others above, that it’s going back multiple times now, and I don’t know what I’ll receive back or how long it’ll last “next time”. Just got my wife the M400 recently, I’m really hoping this problem is just the v800, I’ve never seen any Polar product with this kind of track record, i know it’s leading edge, but basics such as “not destroying itself” or “buttons working” shouldn’t be a quality concern. I’ll update upon receipt if it’s back to 100% function, hopefully!

    • ChrisTexan

      So, finally, after some USPS delays, I now have my new (totally from what I can tell) V800. It’s definitely new from my original (completely different, including black edges and back, prior was silver), so safe to assume the previous one was beyond repair after the 2nd return trip. No updates yet, syncing right now for initial setup, but looks gorgeous, the black on black (instead of silver on black) actually makes it look a little slimmer (maybe it is?) so I’m VERY happy with this assuming all goes well with the usage. Any problems, I’ll update again, but if not, assume until such time, that all is well. Took awhile to get back (and missed some critical runs accordingly) but ultimately a satisfactory outcome.

    • ChrisTexan

      Just another update (mostly positive), since it’s been awhile now from getting the full replacement watch.
      1. Upgraded phone to Samsung GS8+. Lost ability to sync with Polar Flow on that device (apparently new chipset caused problems for more than one vendor, so not unique to Polar) for a long period (weeks). But they finally sorted it out, working now.
      2. The new color scheme looked great out of the box (blacked out with a red start button). Unfortunately unlike the brushed aluminum, the black metal surrounding the glass shows gouges pretty badly. (light scrapes on a brick wall for instance makes visible marks). It’s not terrible, but the bare aluminum of the G1 that I bought wouldn’t show the damage (even though ti was still there, it blended).
      Otherwise, been very happy with it, it seems to have the same accuracy overall, still has the “doesn’t compensate for pressure changes” so I still gain/lose altitude at the same start point (Texas in my area is mostly flat, Total Gain, or loss, separately are maybe 500-1000ft depending on my route, and the “back to start” differential is 20-50ft of mystery “gain/loss. Not enough I’m concerned about it, but it’s something that could easily be filtered out by Flow with just a minimal interpolation of matching location altitudes to determine an adjustment factor (if a 5k run, ends 20ft off at the same point, then simply adjust by 4ft per kilometer to counteract it, or anytime there are solid “known” altitudes, in the geo-database, then interpolate the variability between known points.
      The tracking is the benchmark that all should be compared to. If I swerve 3ft to avoid a puddle, or pass someone on the sidewalk, I can see that deviation in the track.

      Anyhow, overall I’m very happy with it, they’ve added the ability to control GoPro4/5 cameras as well.
      Just noted they’ve also now added the ability to pair with the Stryde running power meter. Wasn’t aware of this product (watching Ray’s video on my other monitor while typing this). So that’s another brand new (July 6, 2017) release update for V800, so although they trickle, out, Polar *is* still updating this little fun watch.

      The one thing it still can’t do that was a little “misadvertised” is rebroadcast the BT signal except a custom “polar only” sync. I am not thrilled with that, especially since their latest, lower model watch, now has that ability.
      It seems if it can do any modified BT broadcast to pair with their devices, they could open that up to the more generic rebroadcast that’s in the newest model, I’d simply like to be able to sync to my phone so I can capture in another app.
      Hope that helps anyone looking for latest news.

  150. Pep

    Another issue i have is the Back to start, even if a calibrate the compass (Thanks to this post) i only get real “time compass” indication if i am stand, thus, i rotate my wrist and the arrow rotaes too. If i am walking this real time indication does not work, any ideas?
    thks!!

    • david n

      I may be leaning out of the window a bit on this one – but I think this is intended behaviour. The idea behind this might be, that when you’re moving, you will be going forward (and not turning – which is kinda hard when running/cycling) – hence the direction-value is taken from your GNSS heading (calculated from the last two GNSS positions). Once you stand still the compass overrides because you might be trying to determine where to go. That’s just speculation though.

  151. Oleg Suprun

    So i was contacted by polar about my dead v800 after recent update , i sent them log files from the pc app, they cannot help me unfortunately . They told me contact my local polar center and request a new unit. The thing is , there is no polar center in my country , so im screwed.

    • Mark P

      Oleg, Polar have posted this on FB – give it a go?

      We’re sorry for the error in our latest firmware update. We’re currently working hard to resolve the issue. As first aid you can perform a factory reset. At the moment FlowSync will probably not recognize your V800, so doing a factory reset will require a bit more of an effort: Do a soft reset, press the four corner buttons down on your V800, for 10-11 times one after the other. Hold down the corner buttons until Polar logo is shown on the display. Release the buttons and wait until display shows the time. Immediately reset again. You will know when to stop doing the reset (and that this is now enough to factory reset the V800) when Polar logo freezes on the display and the V800 doesn’t return to time mode. Factory reset is now started. This will take a while. Once reset is ready, V800 will ask you to select the language, set the unit type (metric or imperial) and to enter user settings. After this V800 returns to time display. Now, connect V800 to the FlowSync software on your PC or Mac and connect it back to your registered Flow account. When Flow service opens on your browser, sign in and approve the settings shown there. Use ‘next’ button to move along the procedure, and save the settings and sync the settings to V800. After sync, you’re once again able to use V800 as usual. If this procedure didn’t resolve the issue for you, please inbox us. We are working hard to get the new features to your V800 as soon as possible.

    • marc v h

      I did the upgrade wednesday . My V800 is ok . On polar flow my workouts are ok . .
      I noticed some strange SWOLF number ( swimming ) .

  152. Ben Scott

    Hi Ray, any idea if it’s possible to view RI like was proposed by polar (see picture) on flow? I can’t see a way but just double checking.
    Also if possible to see HRV or other fatigue tests in a similar fashion?

  153. Ben Scott

    Hi Ray, any idea if it’s possible to view RI like was proposed by polar (see picture) on flow? I can’t see a way but just double checking.
    Also is it possible to see HRV or other fatigue tests in a similar fashion?

  154. roveurboat

    i’ve recently noticed on my display when runnning that the current heartrate is displayed in a light grey shade while all other data is in black. is my heartrate strap failing. i changed batteries but still displayed in grey. Help please?!?!

    • As I understand it, that indicates that you have a dual-mode HR strap (eg a Polar H7, which supports both Bluetooth Smart and Polar’s older “5kHz coded” HR transmission), and that the strap / V800 has fallen back to using the 5kHz coded mode instead.

      Again, as I understand it, in this “fallback” mode, your HR is still available, but the watch is not getting R-R data, so is a bit less accurate in terms of measuring load and recovery.

      As for how to make it get back to the Bluetooth Smart mode? Not sure. It doesn’t happen often for me, but when it does, it usually fixes itself pretty quickly (either within a few minutes, or at least by the next session). You could try re-pairing the strap.

      Good luck 🙂

    • Sven

      Or your Bluetooth connection to the HR-belt is lost. Try to unpair it, and then pair it again.

    • Roy Løvland

      When I get the light grey HR, I have noticed it usually fixes itself if I before starting the session go through the clicks of calibrating altitude or footpod. I dont know why, but by the time Im back into the work out start screen, the HR is ok.
      Roy

  155. Vcortelora

    It must be because you are sharing the data with other device.

    • Roveurboat

      I’ve now purchased a new h7 strap(the old one was getting pretty funky). Of course it will not pair when i go through the proper procedure. Polar support page suggest resetting the h7 by jumping it with a paper clip. Really! anyone had to do this yet? I love this watch but everytime i need to do anything to it other than charge it there are numerous issues. Crazy.

  156. Ross

    Hi

    Considering a V800 and appreciate that for cadence and gradient I’ll need the spped and cadence sensor(s). However the non replaceable battery of the Polar offerings seem wasteful, so looking at the table of bluetooth sensor compatibility it looks as if a number of third party combined speed/cadence sensors work (such as Wahoo blue sc). But does that include the incline % during a ride and in the app post ride?

    Appreciate any experience/confirmation, thanks!!

    • vcortelora

      I am currently using Wahoo Fitness Blue SC (ant+/bluetooth 4.0), and it shows the incline % during the ride, but not in the app. I transfer all my workouts to Strava… ans Strava shows this information based on the information gathered from the V800 (not the GPS altitude).

    • Ross Cardew

      Thanks, that’s interesting – so the Blue SC can deliver the live numbers to the V800, but it’s not then shown on Flow afterwards… I’m not a Strava user so ideally want a solution that records to both the device live and the app.

    • Antti

      I recently purchased the V800 and cadence is finally measured directly from wrist with the latest firmware that was released on 18/02/2016

  157. Nox

    Any (credible) rumours of a replacement for the V800 in the works? It’s been ~2 years since it was announced and I’m feeling mighty wary about buying one despite how much I *want* one. (Especially after I almost bought a Garmin 225 only to see it replaced a sneeze after release.)

    Thanks.

  158. Will M.

    DC,

    I read other reviews of the watch (more recent) and they suggest the watch now tracks distance in Swim mode (both pool and open water). Do you have any update on your side (I trust your reviews much more than others 🙂 ).

    Thanks,
    W

    • Chris

      It does, and has for quite awhile, I’ve used it for outdoor (GPS) and indoor (lap turn-based distances) tracking. I just added a comment also to request a chart update, almost every feature has been hit that’s on the chart.

      On a session of 30 turns, I’ve seen it be off by maybe 2 here and there, but I’m a very inconsistent swimmer and sometimes pause mid-lap or at the wall so that’s more on me, I’ve actually been very impressed if I swim steady laps, it tracks perfectly (you program in your lap length for the pool you are at).

  159. Adriaan

    Hi Ray,

    Question about: feedback during Phased Target / Interval training (Running)

    Let’s say you plan an interval training 8x800m, with 3′ Pause.

    Then, what I want to see during the pause is: feedback on the previous phase!
    It is shown but very QUICKLY, but then it dissapears… and the screen goes back to the training view. (which is logical, off course)

    But how can I see these details for a longer time on my screen during training. (or how do I find this last phase info, without programming last lap/last automatic lap/etc…)?

    Does it make a difference whether my running profile has either: automatic lap = ON f.e. 1km, OR OFF?
    Does it make a difference if my programmed phased interval training has (AUTOMATIC go to the next phase, or MANUAL)?

  160. Adriaan

    Another thing towards the (lack in) creativity of the polar flow creators 😀 creating a phased training.

    If you want to build a training let’s say, a piramid of 400m – 600m – 1000m – 600m – 400m with f.e. 1 minute rest. and do this piramid 5 times.

    Why can I not “COPY/PASTE” this 1′ rest phase or 400m phase or whathever phase?
    It’s quite annoying that there are no smart options for combinations.
    Or even more annoying. Let’s say your training is f.e. 10min jog / the piramid / phases with slightly different things like 3x100m sprint with 100m recovery / again the piramid,… you have to REBUILD that piramid all over,… why is that?

    • Ales Susnik

      When it comes to this, the most simple thing for me is missing: after you build a Phased workout, there isn’t a summary of total time, anywhere 🙂 I always have to add it up manually.

      Unless someone saw this somewhere? 🙂

    • Adriaan

      That is missing, but I understand that, since you can build it up with distance and time together. But it should be easy to implement that…

      Yet, another basic missing thing, is heartrate zones / tempo zones that you can manually use for that specific workout, in stead of the 5 zones.

      f.e. you want to do the Zoladz test an run 5 times 6min in MAX HR (e.g. 200) minus: 50 / 40 / 30 / 20 / 10. It would then be usefull to create for this specific workout 6min in HR zone 146-154 etc… in stead of creating a whole new sportsprofile just for this 1 specific training…

  161. Hi, I just got one of these and have to say it’s worth every penny. I got rid of my RC3 in favour of this and the setup was a couple of minutes, the syncing with the HRM was almost instant, and despite living surrounded by sky-scrapers (I live in Doha, Qatar) it latches onto the GPS super-fast and it does not lose the signal. The HRM strap however does not stay in place when swimming, well, it does under my wetsuit, but the water is so warm here nobody uses a wetsuit. I do like the look though, some others are just silly-big, but the aesthetic here is quite smart-watch, especially with the options for the watch face design. Thanks for the very good reviews. Peter.

  162. Chris

    If you can update the chart quickly, nearly every feature that was not already released above, has been (some for quite awhile). In fact the only thing I haven’t seen on mine, is the music control from the watch, it will display, and I think “pause” (I haven’t used it in awhile) but I can’t do anything like skip to the next song, at least last time I checked. But they’ve hit nearly everything else (pairing isn’t the most stable on the other hand, often have to restart the watch, phone, sensors, etc to re-establish, but that’s not a chart item, LOL)

  163. Jon

    Wireless sync is still terrible. It *appears* to work, with no errors reported and a complete / correct workout displayed on the phone. But either the Flow website shows an incomplete workout (rare), or the backend sync to Strava fails (common). Occasionally, I can force a successful re-sync by changing “how do you feel” and it will push through. Usually I have to connect the watch to a computer like an animal. The watch then goes through its sync process, and my workout will show properly at Flow and at Strava.

    Polar’s response was that bluetooth isn’t reliable and to use a physical connection. Not really the answer I was hoping for.

  164. Michael Heckhuis

    Am i right, that there is still no option to import a file (tcx, csv or whatever) to the flow web service? Is there a workaround to do that ?

    • Kenni Lund

      Wireless sync works perfect using RUNGAP App for IOS.
      To import to Flow Website use Syncmytracks for android. If you dont have android then use Andy or Bluestacks to run the App on windows or MAC.

    • Michael

      THX Kenny!!!
      Syncmytracks works great !! Right now i import all my old stuff to flow 🙂

    • Michael